A bit before Thanksgiving, I had the incredible honor of co-teaching a freshman seminar on the Psychology of Eating and Body Image with stupendously awesome Traci Mann. It was her class and I got to sit in and lead the discussion for the day.
I reeeeeeeally wanted to videotape the class so you guys could get a peek, but Traci pointed out that, since this is pretty personal stuff, the students might be less inclined to open up and be frank if they knew they were on camera. So we didn’t record it. But when I tweeted about it, I got a lot of responses so I thought I’d do the next best thing and post my lesson plan here.
At the end of the discussion, I had the students do a modified version of this exercise.
Actions you can take to change YOUR body image:
(Read at least 3 letters.)
- When you saw the women in Kate Harding’s BMI project slideshow, did their designated classifications surprise you? How did that slideshow make you feel? Did you think it was eye-opening? Done for shock value? Do you ever consider BMI when thinking about your own body, or do you focus on weight and pant/dress size?
- What did you think of the Letter to My Body project? Did it seem futile? Did any of the letters present perspectives on bodies or body image that you hadn’t considered before? Would you ever consider doing this? (It changed my life forever!)
- When you body bash yourself, how much of it is comparison-based? If you were to consider your body alone, and as a whole, do you think you’d be as negative?
- #6 in the NEDA list is “I will refuse to wear clothes that are uncomfortable or that I do not like but wear simply because they divert attention from my weight or shape. I will wear clothes that are comfortable and that make me feel comfortable in my body.” Do you do this? When you shop and dress yourself, do you know what flatters your figure? How did you learn? How important are flattering clothes to your self-image and confidence?
- How did looking at the portraits in the “This is Who I Am” excerpt affect you? Did you see beauty in every woman’s body? Why do you think the author chose to put a young, traditionally attractive woman FIRST in the PDF?
- The “Our Bodies, Our Selves” resource focuses a lot on the media. Do you think a media fast would improve your body image? How long would you have to isolate yourself to feel any effects? What can you do every day to react to media portrayals of bodies and beauty in a healthy, resilient way?
- Do you bodysnark? When? With whom? What brings it on? Does it make you feel better about your own body to criticize the bodies of others? What can you do to stop yourself from bodysnarking? Your friends? Your family members?
- When do you feel best about your body? What activities make you appreciate what you’ve got? How can you carry that over into your everyday life?
- What do you think it will take to adjust the communal beauty ideal to encompass multiple body types and shapes? What can WE do to shift that paradigm?
Please feel free to repost anywhere to generate discussion!
Image courtesy M Lyn.