Breaking Beauty Norms: Empowering Girls to Embrace Their Bodies

The Estonian Business School supports innovative research that addresses critical societal issues, fostering a new generation of leaders and change-makers.

Mehruba Haque is a Junior Research Fellow and PhD Candidate at the Estonian Business School, where she focuses on the intersection of media influence and body image. Her work aims to empower young girls and women to embrace their unique identities and challenge societal beauty norms. It also delves into the impact of beauty advertising on women's body image.


Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and felt disappointed? 
If the answer is yes, then you know you're not alone. But why is it so challenging to embrace our bodies? It all boils down to body image – how we perceive and feel about our bodies.


Beauty advertisements bombard us with images of flawless models boasting impossible body proportions, smooth skin, and shiny hair. Often unattainable and unrealistic, these standards become ingrained in our minds from a young age. Girls, especially, are exposed to these ideals early on, perpetuating a cycle of comparison and dissatisfaction that extends into adulthood.
The impact of these ideals is far-reaching. Women find themselves constantly measuring up to an unrealistic standard, leading to feelings of inadequacy and a relentless pursuit of perfection. Negative body image isn't just about not liking what we see in the mirror; it can lead to isolation, obsessive self-scrutiny, and a perpetual sense of dissatisfaction.


Mehruba:While there's a wealth of research aimed at improving body image in young women, there's a notable gap when it comes to addressing the issue in young girls. This oversight is concerning, especially considering how influential early exposure to beauty ideals can be in shaping perceptions of body image. We must develop strategies to counteract these harmful effects from a younger age. Therefore, my research focuses on empowering girls to challenge and reject unrealistic media portrayals. By equipping them with the tools to critically analyze and deconstruct these images, we can cultivate a sense of self-worth independent of societal beauty norms. Through education and awareness, we aim to instill in girls the confidence to embrace their unique bodies and celebrate their individuality. Ultimately, my goal is to foster a culture where women can look in the mirror and genuinely love what they see. It's about shifting the narrative from one of comparison and self-criticism to one of acceptance and self-love. By addressing the root causes of negative body image and implementing targeted interventions, we can pave the way for a more inclusive and empowering future for all.


Mehruba Shabaab Haque
EBS, Junior Researcher


The Estonian Business School is renowned for its forward-thinking approach and commitment to addressing contemporary societal issues. EBS emphasizes interdisciplinary research and practical solutions, making it a leader in innovative education. Our programs are designed to develop critical thinkers and leaders who can drive positive change in society.