Free Being Me Session Five No More Body Talk* (11-14 years)

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Participants learn about and practise challenging Body Talk, which is language used in day-to-day conversations that keeps the Image Myth going


sheet 4.1
role play scenarios
a large piece of paper


Introduce Body Talk (5 mins)

We found out in the last session that there are lots of things we can do as friends and community members to let people know what the Image Myth is, and persuade them not to follow it so that we have a body-confident community.But sometimes, without even realising it, we can keep the Image Myth going in the way we talk. Every time we make a comment that compares the way people look with the Image Myth, we keep the Myth going.This is called Body Talk.

To check everyone understands what we mean by Body Talk, ask participants:
In our everyday conversations, can you think of any ways we might keep the Image Myth going by using Body Talk?
Participants may suggest ‘teasing’ or ‘saying mean things’. Encourage them to think about less obvious kinds of Body Talk too, like compliments, which compare someone’s appearance with the Image Myth– for example, “You look great! Have you lost weight?”

1) Spot Body Talk (20 mins)

Using the scenarios from Sheet 4.1, ask two leaders to perform a role play.

Reminder: The role plays should be performed by leaders (or volunteer helpers) not participants, because it’s important participants are not using
Body Talk themselves because we don’t want them to practice reinforcing the Image Myth.

We are going to act out some different scenes that you might experience in your every-day lives. Your job is to listen carefully to see if you can hear Body Talk in the conversations.

You will all sit in the ‘audience’ divided into two teams. When you hear an example of Body Talk, you should shout “Body Talk!” and jump up on the spot. Each team should try to be the quickest to spot the Body Talk. Your team will get a point each time you successfully spot the Body Talk in each scenario.

The leaders should immediately stop performing the scenario when a participant correctly identifies an example of Body Talk. Try to explain why it was Body Talk, for example:

Encourage participants to share different ways to stop Body Talk. The three main ways to stop Body Talk are:

Change the topic.
Don’t respond or take part in the Body Talk.
Challenge it by identifying it as keeping the Image Myth going – say you don’t agree and are not going to talk about it.

Repeat the activity so that participants get a chance to work through at least three of the scenarios.

To conclude, give a round of applause to the participants that stand up, and the leaders who’ve been acting.

Well done everyone, you’re really good at spotting Body Talk!

This type of conversation keeps the Image Myth going because…. (e.g., they are comparing someone
to the Image Myth by saying she is fat)”. This can be

really hurtful to the person receiving the comment and it’s not helpful for anyone because it keeps the Image Myth going.

You should ask participants what the people in the scenario could say without using Body Talk.

Now that you’ve spotted an example of Body Talk, let’s think about what you could say to stop it. Can someone share how they would stop the Body Talk?

Why is it a bad idea to use Body Talk when you’re talking to your friends and family?
(Because it keeps the Image Myth going. By comparing people to the Image Myth in a positive or negative way, it makes them feel they should try to look like it, even though it’s a bad idea!)

How can we stop Body Talk?
(Use the list of three ways above)

2) Real compliments (15 mins)

Now you’ve had a chance to spot Body Talk in other
people and think about ways to challenge it or stop it, it’s time to have a go for yourselves.

Ask the group to wander around the room, stopping when they see a new person to talk to.

Give the other person a compliment or greeting that is not Body Talk; that does not compare the other person to the Image Myth. We want your compliments to be about what you most like about that person, and what they are good at, rather than the way they look. Say thank you for each compliment you’re given.

Encourage the participants to help each other by

Ask afterwards:
How does it feel to receive a compliment?
(Participants might feel uncomfortable receiving compliments – it’s important for them to practise accepting them as well as giving them, as it makes a big difference to their body confidence. It’s not wrong to accept a compliment!)

Why is it a good thing to give a compliment that isn’t about what the person looks like?
(You can build up your friends’ self-esteem, without keeping the Image Myth going!)

stopping someone if they accidentally use Body Talk!

Afterwards, bring the group together and ask the participants to shout out one of the compliments they were given. Write them all up on a big piece of paper as they’re shouted out – thank the participant and say the compliment back to them – e.g. “Thanks Sonia, you are a great soccer player!”


  • 11-14 year olds
  • Activities for 11-14 year olds
  • Free Being Me
  • IGG

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