Children are to be taught body confidence at primary school, by being shown airbrushed photos of Britney Spears and other celebrities. The images will reveal how the celebrities looked before and after the images were doctored.
The scheme is designed to boost schoolchildren’s self-esteem by helping them to understand how many images in the media are airbrushed and the impact this can have on them. The youngsters will be told about digital enhancement and asked if they know reasons why the alterations might be made to the celebrities’ images.
“I want children to recognise from an early age that their value is worth so much more than just their physical appearance,” said Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities minister.
Primary schools will be able to get their hands on a teaching pack about body image, which has been produced by not-for-profit company Media Smart, in partnership with the Government Equalities Office. The pack contains a PowerPoint presentation of 14 slides showing famous magazine adverts and posters along with teacher’s notes.
Teachers are being encouraged to start discussions in the classroom, using remarks such as “Did you know that looking at magazines for just 60 minutes lowers the self-esteem of over 80% of girls?”
However the teaching pack doesn’t only show scantily-clad images of celebrities and extreme airbrushing. It also praises ‘real people’ campaigns such as the United Colors of Benetton and Dove adverts, which are well-known for using ‘ordinary’ women of different races and sizes.
“Enabling children, their parents and teachers to recognise how images in the media and advertising are altered and the often negative impact this has on all of our self esteem is crucial,” said the writer of the body image campaign, Susie Orbach, according to the Telegraph.
“Giving primary schoolchildren the tools which allow them to see the differences between the real and the fantastical is part of helping them develop a sense of self worth and confidence from an early age,” added Susie.
Teaching young children about body image isn’t only something to be done in the classroom. Celebrity mums, Sadie Frost and Tamara Beckwith shared the healthy body advice they’ll be passing down to their daughters, after having to face their own body image demons in the past.
What do you think? How do you teach your kids to be confident about their bodies?