Participants consider the costs of trying to match the Image Myth; how it can make young people around the world feel down, how it can stop them fulfilling their potential, and how it can affect their local and global communities.
What to do
1) Create your inside and outside costs (10 minutes)
Get participants into small groups and give them a large piece of paper to draw the simple outline of a person – one outline per group.
We’ve discussed the Image Myth and where it comes from – now let’s think about the costs for people who try to look like it. In other words, if people feel under pressure and try to change the way they look to match the Image Myth, what negative effects can this have on them?
2) Quitting the Image Myth! (10 minutes)
Ask participants to share a few of their Image Myth downsides with the whole group.
Now ask participants to shout out their answers to these questions:
So who benefits from the Image Myth? Suggested answers: diet industry; media; fashion industry.
Looking at all of the downsides we’ve come up with on our Inside/Outside picture for example…., are you personally benefitting from the Image Myth?
I’m leaving! Ask participants to pretend they’re leaving their job at Gloss magazine to show pub- lically that they don’t agree with the Image Myth…
So you’ve decided to leave Gloss magazine because it encourages people to follow the Image Myth and you don’t agree with that. You’re going to start your own magazine that helps everyone to be free to be themselves in our next session.Since you’re leaving Gloss, what would you say to your boss on your way out? It’s time to tell her why you think it doesn’t make sense to follow the Image Myth. Take a few minutes on your own to come up with what you’d say to her. You might like to think about the downsides that we just came up with in the Inside/ Outside activity.
Give participants a few minutes on their own to come up with what they would say.
Ask participants to take turns acting out their “I quit because I don’t agree with the Image Myth”
statement to their small group. If you have time, invite groups to share some of their ideas with everybody.
Brainstorm the downsides for individuals of trying to look like the Image Myth, and write them inside the person outline. How might they feel? What might they miss out on, not do as well at or not enjoy as much?
For example, they could have low self-esteem or lack the confidence to go swimming. Challenge yourself to come up with as many costs or downsides as possible.
Visit each group and encourage them to fill their outline person up as much as possible. Example individual costs are written inside the person below.
Now we want you to think about what the negative effects are for your local and global community if people try to look like the Image Myth . For example, how does it negatively affect how people treat each other at school and young people’s confidence to take the lead to make their world a better place and speak out on issues that affect them? Write all of these community costs for the Image Myth outside of the person.
Example community costs are written outside the person below.
Give the groups time to come up with their own ideas, this activity has the best impact when the girls come up with the costs themselves.
If some groups get stuck, give them an example using the illustrations on this page and congratulate them when they come up with a cost themselves.
Encourage them to work together as a team to come up with as many costs as possible; the more costs they generate, the more effective this activity is for their body confidence and enhancing their leadership skills.
So that this really girl-led, make sure each participant has written down at least one cost. Asking each participant to speak out keeps them engaged and gives them the chance to publicly say they know that the Image Myth is not a good thing to follow.