Archive for the ‘Body Image’ Category

Teaching Body Image at Primary and Secondary Levels

June 21, 2016

barbie-body-image

Courtesy of the Guardian online:

Primary

Start by getting your pupils to think about different representations of bodies on screen with this resource pack from IntoFilm. It includes background information and discussion questions to tackle after watching films such as The Girl With the World in her Hair, The Elephant Man, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

In her brilliant letter to her teenage daughter, Caitlin Moran advises: “Stay at peace with your body. While it’s healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run. Put your hands on your belly and enjoy how soft and warm you are – marvel over the world turning over within.”

Ignite your pupils’ fascination with the inner workings of their bodies with this detailed resource from Teaching Packs. It explains several incredible processes including how blood travels, what bones are made of and how skin responds to touch and pain.

You can also get your pupils to think about the power of their bodies with this investigation from Teachit Primary. It works on the hypothesis “people with long legs jump the furthest” – and introduces the ideas of prediction, fair testing and analysing results. Twinkl also has this dice race activity to get pupils thinking about different kinds of faces. Working in pairs, they have to roll dice and draw the feature linked to each number – the first to get a complete face wins the game.

Your students probably know their bodies will undergo changes as they grow up, but the idea can be unsettling. Get them up to speed with what to expect using this clear worksheet. It shows the changes that puberty brings to both male and female bodies, with a labelling activity to demonstrate their understanding.

Finally, you can teach your pupils the importance of self-belief with this extract from the confidence-building book Being Me and Loving It. The tale follows Noah, who is initially scared to show off his knowledge about space and try new things because he is worried about what other will think of him. The related discussion asks pupils to think about their attitudes towards themselves and how they can stay positive.

Secondary

Should we be worried about cosmetic surgery? Is the fashion industry to blame for anorexia among young people? Is Barbie’s new body a win for feminism? These are some of the questions explored in this collection of articles from The Day. Each topic is examined through a student-friendly news story and a selection of linked activities, plus a glossary of useful vocabulary.

Meanwhile, IntoFilm also offers a look at body image for older students through a series of thought-provoking cinematic outings, including: Milo (about a boy with a rare skin disease); Eating Lunch (about living with an eating disorder); and Girl Model (a documentary about the exploitative machinations of the modelling industry).

It can also be helpful to remind your students that the notion of what constitutes a beautiful body has changed dramatically throughout history. This interesting video looks at how the ideal female body shape has changed over time, from the Greek fashion for rounded curves to the 1990s look of “heroin chic”. It could be useful for sparking discussion and debate among your classes.

And it’s also important that students understand that the images of beauty they are confronted with each day have been digitally manipulated to achieve a certain look. This self-esteem workshop (and associated worksheets) from Sport Relief offers inside information on image manipulation. Follow-up tasks ask students to prepare a role play discussing why they can’t look like the people in the pictures and exploring ways to battle body anxiety.

 

Click on the link to read Whilst I Try to Teach About Positive Self Image, the Media Seeks to Tear My Students Down

Click on the link to read List of Body Positive Books for Kids

Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

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Whilst I Try to Teach About Positive Self Image, the Media Seeks to Tear My Students Down

April 15, 2015

14th Annual New Yorkers For Children Fall Gala - Arrivals

How on earth am I expected to compete with a ruthless and often disgusting media when it comes to the subject of positive body image. Whilst I am trying to share with my students one view on body image and the meaning of beauty, the media goes and projects the complete opposite.

Today I stumbled on a piece that got me so riled up, I wanted to shout at my computer screen. At the bottom of a news article, I noticed a link to a story entitled, “23 Sexiest Celebrities With Ugly Significant Others”. It was written in March last year, but for some reason (perhaps its popularity), the link lives on to the point where it is accompanying recent articles.

Let me share you one of their 23 examples.

As an Australian, this one cuts especially deep. Australia is lucky enough to be the home of two remarkable rolemodels in actor Hugh Jackman and his very talented wife, Deborra-Lee Furness. Deborra is smart and creative. She is a fine person and excellent mother. Some may say, she is a “beautiful” person (for a whole range of reasons).

Not according to this cheap, disgusting load of rubbish article:

 

He might play Wolverine, but Hugh Jackman is one of Hollywood’s hottest. The couple met in Melboure in 1995 on the set of the TV drama, Correlli.The show, which featured Furness as the leading lady, was Jackman’s first acting gig and he played her love interest.However, the Australian actress, director and producer now takes a backseat to her X Men leading man.The couple was immediately drawn to each other and Jackman popped the question after just four months of dating. The quick romance led to a 1996 wedding, and, with nearly 18 years of marriage under their belts, the mismatched couple seems to be defying the odds.

The couple, who are the parents of two children, say that they are as attracted to each other today as they were all those years ago. Though her career in acting and directing isn’t going anywhere right now, Furness stays busy with philanthropy work.

 

The “mismatched couple”? Says who? So let me get this straight – a perfectly matched couple must then be two Hollywood bombshells who get married for 2 weeks before realising that they have nothing in common and then get divorced. Make sense, right?

How dare a publication write that Deborra, or anyone else for that matter, is ugly! What kind of message does that send to children?

How can I compete with this gutter trash?

 

 

Click on the link to read List of Body Positive Books for Kids

Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

List of Body Positive Books for Kids

January 13, 2015

body positive

A great list courtesy of thehuffingtonpost.com

 

  • Flora and the Flamingo and its sequel, Flora and the Penguin, age 4+. These charming, wordless picture books feature a spunky yet graceful little girl. Flora has a pear-shaped body, yet does a ballet pas de deux with a flamingo in the first book and figure skates with a penguin in the second. So many images in books, movies, magazines and ads feature young girls with slim bodies; it’s nice to see an image of a girl with a round tummy who’s athletic, graceful and creative.
  • Brontorina, by James Howe and illustrated by Randy Cecil, age 4+. When a brontosaurus shows up at ballet class, some of the students insist, “You are too big!” But the open-minded ballet teacher decides the problem is that her studio is too small — and moves the class outdoors. It’s a lighthearted lesson about not letting your size or shape prevent you from following your dream.
  • Freckleface Strawberry, age 5+. The main character feels self-conscious about her freckles, especially when other kids make comments and give her a nickname she doesn’t like. The final message isn’t that her freckles are beautiful, but that maybe they don’t matter. More important, people are happier when they accept who they are and what they look like.
  • Firebird, by Misty Copeland, age 5+. A young girl who wants to be a dancer almost gives up before ballet great Misty Copeland inspires and mentors her to reach her full potential in this exuberant picture book that emphasizes hard work and self-discovery.
  • Ivy + Bean, age 6+. Two “opposite” 7-year-old girls become best friends in the first of a wonderful 10-volume series. Bean is a rough-and-tumble tomboy who wears pants and a T-shirt and gets dirty; Ivy wears dresses, thinks a lot and is always reading books. They appreciate each other’s qualities, and the kids in their neighborhood appreciate them for their uniqueness and imagination.
  • Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child and its sequel, Watch Out Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, age 8+. In the first book, Charlie shows she’s comfortable with her out-of-shape body (while trying to make healthy food choices) and confident in her bold sense of style. In the sequel, when she tries out for a TV show, kids tease her about her body, but the TV people admire her for being comfortable with her shape. It’s a refreshing, positive-body-image message to find in a book about middle school.
  • Harry Potter series, age 8+. Hermione is part of the triangle of main characters, and she’s smarter and does better in school than Harry and Ron. Her looks are never a focus, even when the kids become teens, go to dances and start to have crushes. It’s always about who she is as a person and her outstanding abilities.
  • Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, by Octavia Spencer, age 8+. Randi moves to a new town and becomes best friends with two boys who also are outsiders; one is bullied for being hearing impaired but is as passionate about martial arts as Randi is, and the other is lanky, into music and super smart. Together the diverse pals — Randi’s white, and her friends are Latino and African-American — solve a mystery using brains and the occasional Bruce Lee move.
  • Blubber, age 9+. An overweight girl is teased mercilessly by some classmates, and no one stands up for her in this brutally honest look at (pre-Internet-era) bullying among fifth graders. The novel doesn’t spell out moral lessons but teaches kids by portraying repugnant behavior and showing the value of true friendship and courage under peer pressure.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, age 9+. Middle schooler Greg Heffley goes through puberty in this series installment and suffers the indignity of teeth-fixing head gear. He deals with it all through humor and utter cluelessness, as always. He may not become more accepting of himself, but kids reading about his travails understand that everyone goes through this stage and that you can have a good laugh at the embarrassing stuff instead of being quietly embarrassed.
  • Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith, by Gabby Douglas and Michelle Burford, age 10+. This moving memoir shows the Olympic gymnast’s dedication in the face of homelessness, bullying and having a coach tell her she should get a nose job. Gabby stays focused, works hard and accepts herself as she is, even as she strives for greatness.
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, age 12+. A plump princess is chosen by God (in a fictional religion) for a special unknown task. She begins the book as intelligent but insecure and afraid and ends it confident and powerful.​ Rising to challenges and having faith in yourself are big lessons here — as is the message that any size girl can be a respected and capable leader.​
  • InReal Life, age 12+. An exciting graphic novel about a teen girl gamer who learns about harsh working conditions in other parts of the world. She’s smart, competent, and compassionate, both in real life and as her online avatar.

 

Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

November 20, 2014

 

ireland hobert hoch

Weighing students, especially around their classmates is invasive and a breach of privacy. If there was nothing wrong with it then principals and teachers would have no problem sharing their measurements with the students. Can you imagine the fuss if principals demanded that all teachers should be weighed and measured during a staff room meeting?

So when such an unfair and insensitive rule is opposed by a student, especially a student with an impeccable reputation for good behavior, teachers should be expected to give the student some latitude. Sending her to the Principal indicates a teacher completely out of touch,

Ireland Hobert-Hoch may seem an unlikely student protester. She’s a straight-A student, “not one to cause problems in school,” her mom, Heather Hobert-Hoch, told The Huffington Post.

But when physical education students at Southeast Polk Junior High in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, were having their height and weight recorded about three weeks ago, Ireland refused. She was sent to the principal’s office.

“I don’t feel like it’s [the school’s] busines,”Ireland told the Des Moines Register. “I feel like it’s my doctor and my mom and my own business — or maybe not even my own, because I don’t need to know that right now.”

School principal Mike Daily said Ireland didn’t land in his office because she refused to be weighed, but because of how her refusal “was presented to the teacher.”

“The issue anytime a student is sent to the office refers more to the situation and how it has escalated — not necessarily the event at hand,” Daily told HuffPost. “I know saying, ‘Hey, we’ve always done this’ is not a good explanation,” he said, but the measurements are part of a bigger assessment program. “If it gives kids feedback, that helps,” he said.

Ireland’s class was having height and weight measured to calculate their body mass index as part of the FitnessGram program, according to the Des Moines Register. Daily said the school was doing these measurements when he arrived four years ago.

Daily said the school board will discuss the matter at upcoming meetings, and will decide whether to continue weighing children.

Ireland said her refusal to be weighed in front of the class encouraged other girls to take the same position.

School officials asked Ireland and her mom if they would be more comfortable if Ireland were weighed in a private space. Both said no.

“She doesn’t want her weight taken anywhere,” Heather Hobert-Hoch said. The family stopped using a scale years ago and Ireland has “been very happy since then,” her mom said.

“It’s very common among young girls, and even women, to become obsessed with the number on the scale,” Heather Hobert-Hoch said. She said she didn’t want her daughter to go down that path, especially since she’s a healthy, lean girl.

Earlier this year, the FitnessGram program was criticized when one third grader in New York City was given a letter from her school calling her “overweight,” because she weighed one pound more than the average for her height and age. The child’s mother said the information should have been mailed directly home, instead of being given to students.

“My daughter is thin. She knows she doesn’t have a weight problem. But that night, I caught her grabbing the skin near her waist, and she asked me, ‘Is this what they were talking about?”‘ mother Laura Williams told Fox. “It was awful to see.”

 

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Do We Learn Enough From Children?

November 5, 2014

 

Sometimes our children show us up as ignorant. In the video above, one simple question is asked: If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?

Watch the difference between the way children interpret the question to the way the adults do.

It’s society that encourages us to be critical of our own bodies – it is not a natural construction.

 

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

May 27, 2014

 

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I think all teachers should be trained to see the signs and implored to report any student behaviour which may lead to anorexia:

 

AUSTRALIA’S obsession with obesity is feeding deadly eating disorders which are claiming victims as young as 7, including an increasing number of boys.

Experts told a national eating disorders conference on the Gold Coast yesterday of a “toxic culture” of body image which is causing huge physical, psychological and financial harm.

Obsessive dieting was costing lives and almost $70 billion a year in health and productivity expenses, the Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference staged by the Australian and NZ Mental Health Association heard.

Christine Morgan, CEO of l eating disorders charity The Butterfly Foundation, said Australian children as young as seven were being hospitalised for anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

 

 

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

March 9, 2014

Now more than ever, our children feel the strain of living up to the judgmental and often unrealistic expectations of the “fashion police” crowd. Every classroom and every school seems to have them. Magazines thrive on it. Office water cooler discussions is dominated by it.

And like society’s skewed and misguided view of success, the definition for a “body beautiful”shuts so many out of contention from birth. Is this right? Is this fair?

It isn’t. But at the same time, by giving oxygen to shows such as Fashion Police, we are giving permission for the message to harm our children. We can’t make life better for our kids if they feel we are buying into the very lie we wish to protect them from. They wont feel better about themselves if we continue to buy the magazines and watch the disgusting elitist rubbish.

Take this appalling example of how low these shows can go. Imagine poking fun at a woman pregnant with twins?

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

December 24, 2013

barb1

 

The debate over the latest push for a plus-sized Barbie is steeped in political correctness on both sides and ignores the children the toy is aimed at.

One side argues that Barbies aren’t of realistic dimension and the doll is guilty of influencing feelings of negative body image among young, impressionable girls.

The other side argue that the picture above shows an obese girl and that there is a responsibility to teach children that being overweight is not the ideal from a health standpoint.

My view is that Barbie has already had many decades of reproducing the same type of doll. It’s too late for the company to suddenly become inclusive. So your going to have one overweight doll amongst thousands of stick figures? That’s a great way to make someone overweight feel good, put them in a room crowded with models!

If they release the Barbie pictured above it will be the source of more bullying because one can’t help comparing it against every other Barbie ever produced. Even the marketing pitch shows the comparison.

Let’s take the responsibility of making our children body confident out of the hands of Mattel and lets own this problem and do something about it.

1. We need to tell our children that they are wonderful people, regardless of their size. If you think an overweight girl is unhealthy, try an overweight girl racked with guilt and self loathing.

2. Let’s not put such an emphasis on looks and instead replace the focus with more important attributes like kindness, empathy, loyalty and integrity.

3. Let’s help our young find their talents and show them how they can use their unique abilities to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Plus sized Barbie is a meaningless, insincere and tokenistic gesture at a time when we need to show our kids that they really matter!

 

barb2

 

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

Click on the link to read The Call to Stop Telling Your Children they are Beautiful

 

Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

December 17, 2013

AM4NT6

Does anyone actually believe this happens?

Not being attractive as a teenager may have consequences far more reaching than a bruised ego and scribing the occasional bad poem.

A new study suggests that a pretty face can be a source of lifelong advantage – beginning at secondary school – according to a report prepared for the Council on Contemporary Families.

The report, ‘In School, Good Looks Help and Good Looks Hurt (But They Mostly Help)’ says that from high school onwards, people rate better-looking people higher in intelligence, personality, and potential for success — and this often creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The sociologists behind the study, Rachel Gordon (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Robert Crosnoe (University of Texas at Austin) also say women gain an eight per cent wage bonus for above-average looks and pay a four per cent wage penalty for below-average looks.

For men, the bonus is only four per cent. But the penalty for below-average looks is even higher than for women – a full 13 per cent.

Gordon and Crosnoe argue that ‘lookism’ creates inequalities comparable to those created by racism, sexism, and family background.

They wrote: ‘(In high school) youth rated as better looking get higher grades and are more likely to attain a college degree than their peers, setting the stage for better economic outcomes through adulthood.

 

Click on the link to read Woman Plans to Give ‘Fat Notes’ Instead of Candy to Trick or Treaters

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

Click on the link to read The Call to Stop Telling Your Children they are Beautiful

Click on the link to read School Official’s Solution to Harassed Teen: Get a Breast Reduction

Woman Plans to Give ‘Fat Notes’ Instead of Candy to Trick or Treaters

October 31, 2013

 

fat

When will people start realising that the kids of today have had enough of the food associated guilt trips? I have never seen a child motivated to change their eating habits on the back of a public shaming, and I probably never will:

Children in a North Dakota neighborhood may be slated to get an awful surprise this Halloween: A local woman is reportedly planning to hand out “fat letters,” instead of candy, to kids she thinks are “moderately obese.”

Valley News Live reported a local Fargo woman called into Y-94 radio recently and revealed her plan to take on childhood obesity by handing out letters targeting trick-or-treaters whom she considers obese.

“I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight,” she told the station. “I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it.”

Valley News Live obtained a copy of the letter, in which the woman, who is only identified as Cheryl, writes, in part:

You [sic] child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season. My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.

 

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

Click on the link to read The Call to Stop Telling Your Children they are Beautiful

Click on the link to read School Official’s Solution to Harassed Teen: Get a Breast Reduction

Click on the link to read Our Young Children Shouldn’t Even Know What a Diet Is?


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