UK Parents Learn How To Talk To Kids About Body Image – Courtesy Of The Government
You know those magazine covers with perfect faces and bodies, that have been toned and transformed from what they once were into a new reality?
It turns out that David Cameron’s cabinet includes an equalities minister, who introduced the guide that was released on June 22.
From The Guardian:
Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, said the guide was an important contribution to the government’s campaign to boost body confidence among children. It would empower parents to have “those difficult conversations” with their children, she said.
“Young people are being set an impossible standard by images in media and advertising which can erode their self-esteem. As parents, we are often aware of these issues but may not have the advice and guidance we need to talk to our children,” Featherstone said.
The So-Called Perfect Body: A Socially And Culturally Constructed Ideal
The guide stresses that the so-called perfect body and the emphasis on skinniness is a “socially and culturally constructed ideal”. It features before-and-after touched-up pictures of celebrities such as Britney Spears, and encourages parents to make children aware that many images in the media are heavily photoshopped.
Last week, Michael Rose, a coroner in Taunton, Somerset, blamed the fashion industry for the death of 14-year-old Fiona Geraghty, who hanged herself last year after suffering from eating disorder bulimia. Rose recorded a verdict of misadventure and launched into an attack on the fashion world.
From The Guardian (where you can see a photo of this delightful 14-year-old):
“The one class of person not here who I hold directly responsible for what happened is the fashion industry,” he said.
“The problems of eating disorders amongst young people, particularly girls, did not exist before the 1970s. From that period onwards the fashion industry and the magazines promoted thin models and the thin figure.
“I do ask, particularly the magazines in the fashion industry, to stop publishing photographs of wafer thin girls. I do implore it, because at the end of the day for their benefit, families like this must suffer. It is, I am afraid, an increasing problem and until they control themselves it will continue.”
Government-Back Body Confidence Campaign
The body image parent pack, developed for 6-11-year-olds by the nonprofit organization Media Smart, marks the latest contribution to the government’s Body Confidence campaign, launched in 2010, and co-founded by two Members of Parliament: Lynne Featherstone and Jo Swinson.
What a great campaign for the government to support! Here’s what the campaign is all about:
We believe that the pressure to conform to impossible stereotypes is damaging our sense of well-being and leading to increasing unhappiness, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders in women, particularly amongst young people and children – and men.
We believe that everyone has the right, whatever their size, shape or form, to feel happy about themselves.
Therefore we pledge to campaign for Body Confidence to influence the fashion, beauty, diet, and media industries – and the government to:
- ensure honesty and transparency in advertising,
- promote diversity of body shapes and sizes used in magazines, advertising, broadcast and catwalk - introduce media literacy and body confidence education in school
- give children positive examples of using their bodies by promoting active lifestyles and less sexualised imagery
What a fantastic educational tool, for parents and teachers, to teach kids, especially girls, how to be media literate about the images they are seeing. Knowledge is power!
Photo Credit: Humajasmine