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Free Being Me Session One Where does the Image Myth come from* (11-14 years)

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Description

Participants understand that the Image Myth is created and reinforced by society. They also come to realise that beauty ideals change over time and vary between cultures and therefore are not worth pursuing.

Resources

A bell or a whistle

Instructions

What to do
As a whole group, have a speed brain storming session.

One leader reads out each question below in turn and encourages participants to shout out answers and ideas. When you hear a winning answer (listed below), ring a bell, blow a whistle or make a funny noise.

When you feel participants have come up with the main points, move on promptly to the next question to keep the energy going.

Questions

1) “Imagine the Gloss party was 200 years ago, would the ‘perfect-looking’ guest have looked the same and why or why not?”
Winning answers: No!
For example, throughout history different looks have been considered beautiful. For example, in
Renaissance times in Europe larger hips and stomachs were considered beautiful. In the 1800s corsets were popular with women to create really narrow waists and large bottoms. You could also refer back to some of the facts in the World Beauty Facts game.

2) “Would the ‘perfect-looking’ guest have looked the same if your Gloss party was in another country?
Pick a country that is very different to yours.
Winning answers: No!
For example, some women in Ethiopia stretch their lips with big plates as this is considered very beautiful. In North America having tanned skin is considered attractive, whereas in some Asian countries fairer skin is considered more attractive for women. Again, the World Beauty Facts game proves this point.

3) “Where do you think the Image Myth comes from?”
Winning answers:
The media; fashion industry; diet/weight-loss industry; make-up companies…

4) “Where do you learn, hear and see the Image Myth?”
Winning answers:
Friends; family; media (television shows; films; magazines; internet; advertising); diet industry…

5) “How do you think image myth messages make people your age feel about their appearance?”
Winning answers:
Under pressure to look a certain way, feeling like their bodies are not good enough, worrying and unhappy about the way the look.

6) “What do the media tell us will happen if we can make ourselves look like the image myth?”
Winning answers:
We’ll be happy, loved, successful, rich, famous…

7) “Do you really think all these things will happen if you look like this? Another way to think about this is do celebrities, who often come closest to the Image Myth, have perfect lives?”
Winning answers: No!

It’s unlikely that all of these things happen, especially as the Image Myth is impossible for anybody to achieve naturally in the first place. Even models and celebrities who come the closest to looking like the Image Myth don’t have perfect lives. For example, they experience problems in their relationships and careers, and often experience problems with privacy.

Tip:
It’s important throughout Free Being Me to make sure participants don’t talk about any perceived positive aspects of the Image Myth because this will reduce their body confidence and reinforce the beauty pressure we are trying to challenge.

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