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Study: Only 50% of Teen Girls Think They're 'Brave'

Study shows girls wish they were braver
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

If someone asked you whether or not you thought you were brave, what would you say? Now think back to 15-year-old you – would that girl have felt any braver?

A new study by the Girls Leadership Institute and Keds Brave Life Project decided to put this same question to a group of 1,553 teen boys and girls, to see what they'd have to say. And when it came to the girls in particular, they turned up some rather eye-opening stats.

Only 50% of the girls polled admitted they would describe themselves as "brave," compared to 61% of boys. What's more, the way these girls actually define the word "bravery" seems to need a little work in and of itself. Fifty-nine percent of them thought being brave meant they'd have to risk their life in some sort of heroic or dangerous situation. (Not exactly your everyday occurrence.) Only 18% actually thought being brave could mean merely standing up to defend their own beliefs or being honest about who they truly are.

Researchers also zeroed in on what they're calling the "bravery gap" between boys and girls. Sixty-one percent of girls think boys usually get the kudos for being brave, while 29% actually think that being brave is more important for a boy than a girl, anyway. (What?!) A considerable 45% believed they actually needed to be braver than boys to reach their goals, while another third wish they could be braver. And when it comes down to it, only 48% say they have ever done something brave at all.

Perhaps most startling of all was that one in five girls doesn't even have the desire to become any more courageous.

If you're wondering what's preventing these girls from becoming fearless, we can pin it on that old familiar high school culprit: peer pressure. Twenty-four percent said that their number-one fear when it comes to being brave all goes back to a fear of being judged. Another 23% said they would be afraid of being embarrassed or ridiculed.

Pretty sad stats, if you ask us. Are you surprised at all by them, or not really?

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