Parents of students at one Mississippi middle school (ages 11-14) received a letter from the school titled "Why do girls suffer from body image?"
The note said in part, "many women in the United States feel pressured to measure up to strict and unrealistic social and cultural beauty ideals, which can lead to a negative body image." But stated that although this can harm the mental health of young women and girls, "we can take steps to help our girls develop a healthier body image."
Sounds good so far, right?
Their solution: provide "healthy" literature on maintaining a positive body image ... and give girls "shapewear, bras, and other health products if applicable."
Critics pointed out that while people with negative body image are at risk of developing mental health conditions (such as eating disorders and depression), shapewear is likely not the solution. After outraged parents expressed their opinions to the school principal, he assured them that the program had been canceled.
Reading about this got us thinking about body image ...
? If the goal is to teach girls that they don't have to live up to unrealistic standards ... Should shapewear (which is generally designed to help bodies look more like the conventional ideal) only be available for adults?
? After the NHS saw a 41% surge in hospital admissions for eating disorders among teens 17 and younger, a U.K. bill was proposed calling for brands and influencers to admit when they use Photoshop or FaceTune on their images. Should the U.S. pass similar legislation to help combat unrealistic body images in the media/social media?
? On that note: should magazines and websites be forced to put Photoshop “disclaimers” on images that have been retouched?
? For as long as recorded history, there have been “ideal” beauty and body standards (which have varied drastically throughout time!). Do you think we will ever get to a point where all body shapes and sizes are considered beautiful (and are we getting there now)?
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