I have always suspected that there are tens of thousands of women in the world who hate their bodies. Writing this blog has confirmed my belief, if not my estimate of numbers, and I want to do everything in my power to help those women embrace their gorgeous bodies.
But when conversations arise about truly changing the tide, the focus often turns to girls and young women – the generations that are just LEARNING to hate their bodies, the girls who are sensitive and malleable, the young women who may be able to not-learn or un-learn before those negative messages get ingrained. And I’ll admit that I feel less equipped to advise and help tweens and pre-teens.
So I wanted to pull together some resources for younger readers, readers who have young daughters, or really anyone looking to help up-and-coming generations improve on self-image.
This jam-packed site designed for teens and tweens has a body image section, active discussion boards on body image and other body/health topics, and loads of body positive content tailored to a younger audience. The site itself is owned by Alloy.com and there are some aspects of it that irk me – like giant animated beauty products ads on the body image section – but overall, the content is solid.
Although this online magazine touches on all aspects of teen and tween life, every article about body image, style, or confidence takes a decidedly positive and uplifting tone. I wish I’d had access to it when I was younger.
Teaching Tolerance lesson plan
This will be most helpful to anyone in a teaching or mentoring position, but is truly stellar material. It includes a PDF for use in the lesson, and a PowerPoint to accompany the learning session. It’s a long and detailed lesson suited to high schoolers that includes exercises designed to get students to dissect the current social norms about physical size and appearance. Click here to see the lesson plan.
This website puts its fabulous mission front and center: About-Face’s mission is to equip women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect self-esteem and body image. There are galleries of good and bad ads, a section where readers can contribute and talk back, and a list of body-positive resources. Click here to visit About-Face.
Bodypositive.com’s Children and Weight section
More of a resource for parents, teachers, and mentors, this section examines myths, behaviors, and misconceptions about young people and offers advice on actions that can be taken. Click here to visit the Children and Weight resource page.
Center for Young Women’s Health
The writing on this site is extremely simple, which means that it may appeal more to tweens and younger than teens and older, but it’s a pretty fabulous site overall. The self-esteem section does a great job of explaining WHY it’s important to love yourself, a key point that is often overlooked. There’s even an article on cultivating positive body image in young women with facial differences. Click here to check out the Center for Young Women’s Health.
Image courtesy IMs BILDARKIV