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women helping women online with the HerHelp app

Women Helping Women Online

By Tasha Broomhall

People who experience low self-esteem and poor views of their body image can become obsessed with altering how they look, posing a risk for unhealthy behaviours regarding eating and exercising habits1.

Body Image

Across the world, 1 in 5 students miss school because they feel that they don’t look good enough. 31% of teenagers don’t participate in class to avoid drawing attention to their appearance2.

Most forms of social media young women use are predominantly image-centric3 where much of the content promotes society’s perceived ideal of thinness4. Exposure though social media use is linked to negative body image in women5.

Approximately 50% of young women say they are dissatisfied with their physical appearance6.

HerHelp

Lexy McDonald created HerHelp, an interactive platform which aims to support young women, and others of all ages, through daily struggles when she was aged just 17.

Lexy McDonald

Lexy says ‘Throughout my schooling I noticed teenage girls can really struggle – whether it be body image or being bullied. I believe a lot of this comes from social media. Instead of waiting for a platform to be made for me to share my positive message to help these girls I decided to make my own.’

HerHelp was released in July 2019 with the aim of empowering women to embrace who they truly are, as opposed to trying to live up to social expectations. The platform includes a networking forum which allows the users to communicate and share advice on events they experience daily.

People are able to express who they are and provide extra support to people who may be struggling with confidence, bullying, relationships, studying, goal setting and/or health and wellness.

Safe Space

Lexy built HerHelp to create a safe space where girls could go online, initially sharing her own story, though to date more than 50 girls have shared their stories as well. In the first six months HerHelp had over 1000 users with some people interacting on a daily basis. Lexy has now spoken at events and engaged in radio interviews.

Celebrating the connections that HerHelp is creating Lexy says ‘It is definitely proving effective so far. I’ve had hundreds of direct messages from girls telling me how much the app has helped them!’

Beyond Expectations

Lexy’s initially humble goals have been exceeded. ‘I told myself going into it that even if I helped one girl this app is worth it. So to have thousands of girls in the last few months using it and telling me it’s been beneficial for them is just incredible!’

Empowering Each Other

Lexy’s dream now is that the HerHelp App will be downloaded on everyone’s phone, however ‘for now I’m growing at a stable pace which I’m happy with! I think the most important thing about empowering women is if we all get together and empower each other together we can touch so many people’s hearts!’

Lexy McDonald launched the App “HerHelp!” in July of 2019. It’s an interactive platform which is available on both the App Store and Google Play with an aim to encourage, guide and support young girls through daily challenges.

Visit the HerHelp Website.

Download HerHelp on the Apple Store or Google Play and follow on Instagram @herhelp_

References:

[1] National Eating Disorders Collaboration. (n.d.). Body Image. Retrieved from https://www.nedc.com.au/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-explained/body-image/

[2] The Butterfly Foundation. (n.d.). Butterfly Education for Young People. Retrieved from https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/our-services/education/for-young-people/

[3] Perloff, R. M. (2014). Social media effects on young women’s body image concerns: Theoretical perspectives and an agenda for research. Sex Roles, 71(11-12), 363-377. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-014-0384-6

[4] Fernandez, S., & Pritchard, M. (2012). Relationships between selfesteem, media influence and drive for thinness. Eating Behaviors, 13, 321–325. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2012.05.004

[5] Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P. C., Vartanian, L. R., & Halliwell, E. (2015). Social comparisons on social media: The impact of facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood. Body Image, 13, 38-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.12.002

[6] Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: A meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 460–476. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.460

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Main image credits: Kobu Agency (Unsplash) and Eric Ward (Unsplash)

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