The NFL's First Female Coach Nails One of the Biggest Problems American Girls Face

Source: AP
Source: AP

Jen Welter made history Monday when she became the NFL's first female coach. Given the barriers women face in the sports world — like wage gaps, sexualization and discrimination — the Arizona Cardinals' accomplished new coach is inspirational. But when asked what young women can learn from her experience, Welter looked beyond athletics and touched on a surprising, yet crucial, obstacle all young women face.

"I think the hardest thing in our society right now — no offense — is the media," Welter said at a press conference Tuesday, according to the Huffington Post. "We [tell] little girls all the time to be beautiful and to do it all the wrong ways. We show them as accessories, for no other better way to put it. ... Adolescent female self-esteem right now in our country is at an all-time low. ... We've shown them that image is more important than intelligence, that beauty is more important than talent."

Source: Mic/YouTube

Welter makes a crucial point: Body image and unattainable beauty standards negatively affect women's overall potential. Studies demonstrate that media representation affects the way women see themselves and that there's a proven correlation between negative body image and low self-esteem, which shapes their confidence.

"Until we pick up and show [young girls] women that are doing things because they're awesome and not just because they're pretty — how else will they judge themselves?" Welter asked. "And pretty is a standard very few people can live up to because it's perfection, it's Photoshop, it's Instagram, it's filters. I know I love the saying 'I woke up like this,' but I promise you, I don't wake up like that. Very few of us do."

Source: Mic/YouTube

Ultimately, Welter said she wants young women "to grow up knowing that when they put their minds to something, when they work hard, that they can do anything."

And with more role models like Welter in the public eye, it seems increasingly likely young girls will start to internalize just that.

h/t Huffington Post

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Julie Zeilinger

Julie Zeilinger is a staff writer at Mic as well as the founder and editor of The FBomb (thefbomb.org), a feminist blog partnered with the Women’s Media Center. She is also the author of "A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word" and "College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year."

MORE FROM

8 of the biggest moments from the 48th NYC LGBT Pride March

The biggest Pride event in the world was a sight to behold.

Movement for Black Lives activists disrupt Minneapolis Pride to protest Philando Castile verdict

Protesters reportedly held signs with messages like "No KKKops at Pride."

Protesters reportedly arrested near NYC's Stonewall Inn, Pride March endpoint

The reason for the arrests were not immediately known.

Marchers arrested in Istanbul as Pride parade continues despite cancellation

The organizers' decision to move forward with the previously cancelled march led to clashes with police.

Car slams into Eid celebrants in UK, injuring 6; police say terrorism isn't suspected

Police say they believe an Eid celebrant was behind the wheel of the car that injured six outside a mosque.

Oil truck explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153

The deadly fire broke out as residents rushed to collect the leaking oil from the overturned tanker.

8 of the biggest moments from the 48th NYC LGBT Pride March

The biggest Pride event in the world was a sight to behold.

Movement for Black Lives activists disrupt Minneapolis Pride to protest Philando Castile verdict

Protesters reportedly held signs with messages like "No KKKops at Pride."

Protesters reportedly arrested near NYC's Stonewall Inn, Pride March endpoint

The reason for the arrests were not immediately known.

Marchers arrested in Istanbul as Pride parade continues despite cancellation

The organizers' decision to move forward with the previously cancelled march led to clashes with police.

Car slams into Eid celebrants in UK, injuring 6; police say terrorism isn't suspected

Police say they believe an Eid celebrant was behind the wheel of the car that injured six outside a mosque.

Oil truck explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153

The deadly fire broke out as residents rushed to collect the leaking oil from the overturned tanker.