Teen spurred to tackle low self-es­teem


Pe­tra Jel­ly­man wants young peo­ple to feel good about them­selves. The 14-year-old Kaiko¯ura youth coun­cil­lor said she gets tired of peo­ple run­ning them­selves down.

‘‘I don’t like hear­ing my friends call­ing them­selves fat - it re­ally grates on me when they look down on them­selves.’’

Two years ago, as a Girl Guide, she took part in the Free Be­ing Me pro­gramme which was part of the Dove Global Self-Es­teem Project. The project aims to boost self­es­teem and body im­age con­fi­dence in young peo­ple.

‘‘I found the pro­gramme re­ally good and it sparked a lot of in­ter­est in me about gen­der equal­ity and body im­age,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s all about help­ing young women feel con­fi­dent about who they are.

‘‘Peo­ple are just peo­ple and I don’t un­der­stand why any­one is judged based on their sex, whether they are male or fe­male, or the equal­ity be­tween peo­ple over­all.’’

Work­ing along­side Girl Guid­ing NZ and Life Ed­u­ca­tion Trust, Dove want to make young peo­ple more aware of their body im­age.

They are hop­ing to reach 18,000 young Ki­wis this year and pos­i­tively in­flu­ence their self-es­teem.

Stud­ies have shown eight out of 10 girls will opt out of at­tend­ing school, play­ing sports or en­gag­ing wth friends due to low self-es­teem and con­cerns about their im­age.

Jel­ly­man said the pro­gramme made her more aware of how many peo­ple had low self-es­teem and gave her the skills to pos­i­tively re­in­force their view of them­selves.

‘‘The pro­gramme gave me the skills to say it in a bet­ter way and the con­fi­dence to say it.

‘‘Part of it is to be able to help other peo­ple and also to un­der­stand and know who you are and have con­fi­dence in your­self - which most peo­ple strug­gle with.’’

Jel­ly­man is in year 10 at Kaiko¯ura High School and said she wants to help more peo­ple in the fu­ture.

She is aim­ing to study psy­chol­ogy and wants to be­come a youth coun­sel­lor.

She said the ‘‘per­fect woman im­age’’ shown in the me­dia through photo shop­ping was dis- torted and that ev­ery­one has dif­fer­ent ideas of beauty around the world.

The once self-con­scious girl said she had learnt not to try to fit into so­ci­ety’s per­fect im­age be­cause, ‘‘I am me, and com­fort­able about who I am and that’s enough’’.


The Dove Global Self-Es­teem Project in­stalled con­fi­dence and sparked an in­ter­est in gen­der equal­ity and body im­age in Kaiko¯ura youth coun­cil­lor and girl guide Pe­tra Jel­ly­man.

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