How the hell do we talk to our kids about
body image? The messaging they are sent is pervasive. It’s everywhere,
from that stupid breast enlargement ad on the subway with the melons
(New Yorkers, I know you’ve seen it), to the online games our tweens
play, to ads, to magazines, to billboards, to the shows WE watch, they
watch, they watch us watching…… It’s a minefield. Our kids are
constantly exposed to the celebration of one body type– typically a thin,
white, big boobed variety for girls, and a muscular, ripped, white, hyper masculine type for boys.
Kids Start Struggling With Body Image Issues Earlier Than You May Think:
Many Americans may not realize that the media influences kids’ body image concerns from a very young age, according to a new brief that provides an overview of the existing research in the field.
Researchers from Common Sense Media,
a nonprofit organization that reviews content targeted at kids, say
that dozens of studies reveal very young children are increasingly
struggling to develop a healthy relationship with their own bodies.
instance, when kindergarten-age children are asked to indicate their
ideal body size, nearly a third of them choose a size that’s smaller
than their own. By age six, kids are aware of what “dieting” means and
may have tried it. By age ten, 80 percent of American girls say they’ve
been on a diet. By Tara Culp-Ressler
pursuit of a perfect body is no longer only a “girl” thing. From padded
Halloween superhero costumes that give 5-year-olds six-pack abs to
action movie stars with exaggerated physiques, representations of men in
the media have become increasingly muscular and unrealistic. Boys are
falling prey to the images of ideal bodies splashed across magazine
covers; in video games, movies, and music videos; and now on social
media. Unlike their female counterparts, however, most boys aren’t out
to get skinny. They want to bulk up. - Caroline Knorr
before all that happens – before they’re exposed to boobs that are as
round and firm as cantaloupes and pictures of taut, airbrushed,
dimple-less butts – I’m exposing them to a different kind of female
My daughter loves these from Hatch Kids tackle all
sorts of great topics from body image, to feminism, to privilege,
intersectionality, gender …. it’s really a great resource!
Here is a video on girls and body image:
In case you needed further confirmation that unrealistic beauty standards affect girls at an early age, SheKnows Media is here to help.
In a new video from the digital media company’s Hatch program,
young girls discuss body image and how it’s influenced by the media.
According to one of the participants, altered images on magazine covers
and in advertisements fuel unhealthy comparisons.