Various coping styles of young developing females involved in the so-called process of "hitting the wall," receiving negative societal messages about their bodies, minds, and worth are overviewed.
How do these female adolescents either maintain or strengthen their self-esteem or lose their "voice?" What factors contribute to the many possible ways of coping differently during this critical stage of personality development and identity formation?
Self Esteem and Young Women
Emily Hancock (1989, p. 3) described the phenomenon that has come to be associated with the developmental process in the adolescent female. It is this process by which a self-assured, confident child grows into a self-conscious, insecure teenager, often in what seems like an overnight transformation. It has been titled the "loss of voice," "the confidence gap," or "hitting the wall," and it is pivotal to an understanding of the unique experience of female development. Although early childhood experiences for young women vary according to family background, cultural heritage, and neighborhood environment, women often tell similar stories when describing their personalities in childhood. Even though the specifics of the experience are different for each woman, it is surprising how universal the general picture of the secure young woman is despite so many different circumstances. This confident young woman is sometimes called a young woman's authentic self, who has faith in her thoughts and opinions. "Straight talkers, they are able to speak their minds directly -- able to speak their minds with all of their hearts" (Debold, Wilson, and Malave 1993, p. 13). According to psychologists, the loss of self-esteem is nothing more than the natural process of growing up female. The awareness that many restrictions are placed on young women causes them to make dramatic changes in ...
Female adolescents' coping styles are analyzed. References are also named.