Body Image & Wellness

Unattainable and idealized images of women’s and girls’ bodies are visible in every aspect of advertising and mass communication. Women and girls are bombarded constantly with messages that treat them as objects of sexual fantasy and exploitation or that demean them. Popular culture promotes unrealistic standards of beauty and makes women – particularly young women – susceptible to distorted body images, low self-esteem and psychological and eating disorders. The multi-billion dollar cosmetic surgery industry poses increased health risks for women, including life-long disfigurement. Researchers in our network are documenting negative messaging while encouraging a healthy representation of female beauty in which intellect, creativity and character trump thinness and physical perfection.

GIRLS FORUM: Deborah Tolman on Enhancing the Resiliency of Girls

February 3, 2009 posted by admin We asked advocates and scholars working on issues affecting girls’ lives to address the national conversation on girl’s needs, desires, and rights. What would they like to see changed?  Below is the first response in this week’s forum: Health is not just the absence of disease or risk.  It is the ability to live in a healthy body, with a healthy mind and spirit.   Girls need more than the elimination of risks and dangers in their lives, environments, schools, neighborhoods, homes. They need the encouragement and information that can enable them to live in the positive.   Most government funded research focuses on what, how and sometimes why negative practices, forces, impacts can be eradicated.   How about some effort, energy and resources getting behind what works for diverse girls?  What girls need to enhance their resilience not just to minimize their risks?


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