Today I have been working on our Positive Body Image workshop as we prepare to visit schools with it in the next few weeks.
It’s hit a nerve. I’m a voluptuous woman and like other people, male and female, have grown up with deep insecurities about my appearance. The difference between growing up twenty + years ago and now is the staggering amount of media coverage on ‘perfection,’ our young people are bombarded with daily.
It has reached levels of absurdity. Celebrity Kim Kardashian was labelled ‘fat’ when heavily pregnant. What the…!?! And “embarrassing” beach photos were published of Angela Merkel. I mean, Kim Kardashian for all her faults, is bringing a child into this world, which is nothing short of amazing, and Angela Merkel is the leader of the most influential European country. Yet their bodies is what the media (and us – we read it after all) decide to focus on.
This obsession with appearance has potential lethal consequences for our young people. The YMCA research indicated that 1 in 4 adults feel depressed about their bodies. 54% of teenage girls said they had body image problems and 23% of boys said they didn’t like their body either. 50% of teenage girls and 34% of boys have been on a diet. 1 in 10 boys have taken steroids to build up muscles.
What is with the self – loathing? The need to hate ourselves? Why do we do it? More importantly, why do we continue to push this burden of perfection on our young?
For me, the danger of the “perfection obsession” is the perception that beauty is linked to success. To be thin is to be successful. To have straight hair is have more confidence. To have muscles is to be respected. Who can blame young people for thinking this way, it is practically drip fed into them from infancy.
That is why, the body image workshop has taken a turn from “love yourself” to “What is success?” By looking at well – known but not typically beautiful celebrities, such as, Ricky Gervais, Katie Piper, Miranda Hart, and Seal we can begin to build a positive image around appearance and success.
I hope students will leave the workshop with a tiny planted seed in their mind that will start to question the media, society and the ideal of perfection. So one day they can recognise their beauty, their value and their future beyond the constrains of the latest fad diet.
For more information about these workshops contact email@example.com