Activities for Promoting Positive Body Image in Girls
Girls are constantly comparing their bodies to others, and poor body image is often the result. Use these activities to help girls begin to view their bodies more realistically, and start to feel better about how they look.
Developing a RealisticHow do you promote positive body image?
Compare the body types of two sets of women. First, page through a fashion magazine and keep track of how many overweight, normal weight, and underweight women who appear there. Find the percentages for each. Next, sit on a bench at a busy park or mall for about an hour and do the same regarding the women who walk by. Again, find the percentages. Compare the results for the two groups and consider the following questions. Even better; do the activity with a friend and discuss the questions together.
- What did you notice about the distribution of different body sizes among both the models in the magazines and the women in real life?
- How might this discrepancy impact body image?
- Did you feel better or worse about your own body after viewing the magazine?
- Did you feel better or worse about your own body after viewing the real women?
- Why do you think the women in magazines are not representative of women in real life?
- How do you think this representation impacts how women and girls feel about how they look?
- Do you think it would be better to include a wider variety of body types in magazines and other forms of advertising? Why or why not?
Focusing on the Positive
Have a conversation that helps her refocus her attention on the positive aspects of her body. Here is a sample conversation with suggestions:Make a list of all of the positive things about your body. Include the physical features that you like, (I have pretty eyes, my hair is shiny, etc.) but stay away from commenting on those parts of the body you perceive as flaws. Concentrate just on what you like. Next, think about the great things your body can do, and list all of those, too. Include things like sports and activities you can do, but don’t forget simple things, like hugging your parents, applauding for a friend’s success, or participating in a walkathon to raise money for your favorite charity.
Next, think of things your body doesn’t do right now, but you would like it to do in the future. Maybe you want to learn how to dance. Or perhaps you want to take karate. Add these goals to your list and start thinking about how you want to achieve them. Tape this list somewhere you’ll see it everyday, like on your mirror or on the wall next to your bed. Read the list several times a day to remind yourself how terrific your body really is.
Poor body image is a problem for many young girls. However, learning how to develop a more realistic view of one’s body, and focusing on positive aspects of the body can help improve body image and self-esteem.