40% of Girls Between Ages 6 and 12 Unhappy With Their Appearance

You fixate on your “batwing” arms. You never leave the house without Spanx on, lest anyone catch so much as a sliver of belly bulge. And those elbows of yours? Soooooo fat – at least in your mind.

Hey, we all tend to obsess about our not-so-perfect bodies. Even, it seems, little girls.

According to a new poll from BBC TV’s Newsround, 40% of girls between the ages of 6 and 12 are unhappy with their appearance. One in four said they would like to be thinner, 15% want to be taller or change their facial features, and a quarter dislikes their hair.

In response, The Daily Mail surveyed a panel of young girls about their fixations with their figures. The girls’ comments reveal deep insecurities about their bodies.

“My problem is the top of my legs and my bottom, which sticks out,” says nine-year-old Harriet Buck. “I would like a smaller bottom because I find it difficult to fit into some jeans. Ideally, I would like my legs to be slimmer all over and then I could wear what I wanted. Instead, when I go shopping it’s hard to find jeans that look really nice, and I can’t wear very short skirts.”

Twelve-year-old Kathleen Bartha also expressed unhappiness with her body.

“Whenever I look in the mirror I feel really tearful,” Kathleen says. “My legs are too big to fit well into some trousers, and I feel my stomach isn’t flat enough. Mostly I think I would look a lot better if I were thinner all over. My friends and family tell me I am skinny, but I don’t believe them and I think mum only says it to make me feel better. If I try to diet and not eat so much, mum stops me. But then I read magazines and see the celebrities and wish that I was thin like they are.”

Maria Daly, also 12, sees plastic surgery as her best option.

“Although I like Kate Moss because she is slim, my main wish would be to have bigger boobs,” she says. “Mine isn’t big enough at the moment. If I get to 20 and my boobs are still small, I will have a boob job.”

Even 6-year-old Ilana Pecino spoke of altering her appearance, saying that she’d like to straighten her naturally curly hair “like my favorite singer, Shakira.” The tyke also admits to worrying that too much chocolate will make her fat.

But don’t pin all the blame on Barbie. The girls’ parents cite outside factors like skimpy children’s apparel, Bratz dolls, shows like “America’s Next Top Model,” and teen magazines as encouraging young girls to focus on their appearance.