Growing up young

Has adolescence ever been harder for girls, as they enter a world where appearance rivals achievement, and judgement is only a social media comment away? Meet some young women from Merseyside who are navigating this tricky moment in their lives.


If I leave the house without make-up, I don't feel as much myself. It gives you confidence.

I would say everyone feels a pressure from social media - even subconsciously.

When people start posting pictures of their bodies there is pressure for other girls to do the same, and meet that standard.

Everything is so enhanced - a lot of what you see isn’t even real anymore.

Holly, 15

I'm influenced by celebrities' style. They set the trends and everyone wants to fit in by wearing what's popular.

Bella and Mollie

I’m a feminist, but I am allowed to be insecure about my appearance... which is why we want to see flawed women [on screen]. You want to be attractive, but you've also got to be strong.

The media sometimes gets on top of you, and you see an image - and you know it’s Photoshopped - and you’re like ‘yes I do want to look like that’ [yet] I know it goes against being clever and wanting to go to uni, and that it's what’s inside that counts.

Bella, 17

Everybody wants to be the perfect person but that has broadened out to being smart as well as [attractive] and that's added more pressure.

Not only do you have to look really nice and put on loads of make-up but you've also got to study.

Half the time we’re expected to be children and accept what our elders say, and then make these choices that are going to affect the rest of our lives.

We’re on the precipice and we don’t know where we stand.

Mollie, 18

People ask if I'm a tomboy or a girly girl. [They say] 'Scouts is for boys' but it's a good place for girls. At Guides you don't learn survival skills as much, or not to be afraid of taking responsibility.

I don’t like wearing any make-up because I don’t want people to look at me and think that I don’t think I’m pretty.

Olivia, 12

I think at my age people wear similar things, and everyone has expensive brands... People are pressured into wearing the same thing and I don’t understand - they want to fit in, so they wear the same stuff, yet they want to stand out.


I can’t think of anything good about Instagram really. You’re either worried that you follow too many people or you’re worried that you haven’t got enough followers, or what you’re posting isn’t true to you, or that it’s not what you want to reflect.

You are not the 'likes' that you get. That’s an important line to draw.

Then you can start enjoying social media.

Sophia, 17