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Girls Scouts Body Image Campaign: Helping or Hurting the Cause?

health, girl scouts, plus size, negative body image, healthy body image, meaningful beautyThat today’s girls are getting unhealthy messages about beauty and how to attain it goes without saying. From the magazines they read to the Photo-shopped images they see,  girls are hearing loud and clear that unless they are thin, they are not beautiful.  Common sense says this is ridiculous.  Beauty is about much more than what size you wear.  But while women of all ages fall victim to this mindset, young girls are particularly vulnerable.  They haven’t yet had time to gain the life experience that would show them that beauty truly comes from within.

As parents, we combat this issue in many different ways.  I refuse to allow beauty magazines in my house and often talk to my own tween about what’s real, what isn’t and why none of it really matters if she doesn’t feel good about who she is inside.  But it’s an uphill battle that parents can’t fight alone.  That’s why I am pleased to see a high-profile organization like the Girls Scouts of America (GSA) getting involved and trying to combat the problem at the very source:  The media.

GSA is addressing the issue on three fronts.  First, they’ve teamed up with the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, which is working help “free the next generation from self-limiting beauty stereotypes.”  They are also involved in the Healthy Media for Youth Act which, among other things, would provide for the establishment of a National Task Force on Girls and Women in the Media.

And lastly, GSA is using their considerable resources to speak directly to young girls.  In a series of videos called “The Changing Face of Fashion,” GSA and modeling agency Wilhelmina Curve showcases plus-sized models talking about their own bodies, self-esteem and careers.  Anticipating another tool to use in my fight to keep my own girl’s self-esteem intact, I eagerly clicked on the first video.  And just like Julie Gerstein at Lemondrop, I was disappointed.  I watched them all and I remain disappointed.

If you close your eyes and listen to what these young women are saying, the videos are mostly good.  Despite the fact that they go on a bit about how they came to be models, they also speak of inner beauty, strength and being comfortable with yourself.   But when you open your eyes and take a look at them, it feels like more of the same.  These young women are gorgeous and if they are also plus-sized, it is impossible to tell.  The videos are shot from the shoulders up and each and every one of them would look right at home on the cover of any mainstream beauty magazine.

I get that they were trying to make the point that even curvy girls can be models, but I am not sure how that helps the average girl.  You know, the girl who is curvy and short.  Or lacks perfect bone structure and gorgeous hair. If they really wanted the average girl to feel good about herself , why didn’t they film average girls feeling good about themselves?  Am I missing something here?  Do you see the value in the message GSA is sending with these videos?

Image: Girl Scouts

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