Defining House: Body Talk

Introduction:

We live in a culture where a girl can end up with shame about, or fear for, her body, a culture of criticism, objectification, “locker-room” talk - and in the extreme - gender-based violence.  

No matter who you are or how you identify as a female, the media and society tell you a perfect girl or woman is “skinny, white, blond hair, blue eyes, sexy but innocent, childlike, and submissive." With so many contradictory messages, it’s no wonder that a girl often choose behaviors that are harmful to or completely disconnected from her body. This activity opens the door to media literacy and how the media influences standards of beauty and self-image.

Conversation Tips:

If strong emotions about body image come up for her during the conversation, don’t downplay these. Don’t say things like “you’re being hard on yourself”. Instead, listen and let her express her feelings. If she talks about being strong in her body, praise her for the effort that goes in to playing sports or eating healthy. And don’t make body shaming comments about yourself. Accept compliments about your own body size and – this is important – express that satisfaction within earshot.  

Goals:

• Develop a deeper understanding of how the media influences standards of beauty and self-image.

• Develop a fresh understanding of the messages a girl values about beauty and self-image for a girl

Do This Together:

1.  Watch the Evolution of a Model commercial with a girl. Talk about what you saw in the video:

- How did the model transform?

- What does the media tell us about ‘beauty’ and what we are supposed to look like?

- How has that shaped your personal identity of beauty?

2.  Reconstructing: If you were to write a script for a new commercial about beauty for girls what would it be?

3.  Think about who would you cast? What would your message be? What would you want girls your age or younger to see on commercials, magazines, or tv?

*If you have access to a video camera or phone camera, have the girls shoot the commercial and share it under #MyPowerStory.

4.  Read Power House and the skills that it takes to build it. Ask this closing question: What is a skill she needs to develop related to this power? Who can help her develop it?