Body image and the concern of Australian children: some implications for policies and practice
Body image and the concern of Australian children: some implications for policies and practice. Interrelate........ a leading Australian provider of. counselling for individuals, couples, and families. parenting and relationship education.
Body image and the concern of Australian children: some implications for policies and practice
Interrelate........ a leading Australian provider of counselling for individuals, couples, and families parenting and relationship education employee assistance programs and consultancy for companies support for families going through separation training for family support professionals Sexuality and relationship education workplace counselling, mediation and training
Issues of Concern (Mission Australia National Survey of Young Australians – 2010)
Body Image Crisis Body image the #1 concern of young Australians for 4 consecutive years Overwhelming evidence that exposure to thin-ideal significantly increases risk of body dissatisfaction, which in turn significantly increases risk of pathological eating and dieting behaviours Increasing rates of eating disorders, pathological dieting behaviours in young Australians – including boys
Body Image Statistics Children are influenced by their parents, peers and the media: 42% of primary school students want to be thinner 80% of children who are ten years old are afraid of being fat 25% of men and 45% of women are on a diet on any given day 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance 51% of 9 and 10 year old girls feel better about themselves if they are on a diet 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 25% will progress to partial or full syndrome eating disorder: Anorexia Nervosa - pursuit of thinness that leads to self-starvation Bulimia Nervosa – a cycle of bingeing followed by extreme behaviours to prevent weight gain, such as purging Binge Eating disorders – regular bingeing 91% of girls recently surveyed on a university campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. The diet industry is a 40 billion dollar industry. This figure is amazing considering 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 1-5 years. (The Butterfly Foundation) Supporting Australians with Eating Disorders
What is body image? Body image is the mental picture we have about the way we think we look. It’s how we feel about the size, shape, weight, and look of our bodies. Body image disturbance is also a significant mental and physical health issue, resulting in disordered eating patterns, extreme weight control methods, excessive exercise, and substance abuse. Problems with body image affect men and women. Most people face it at some stage of their life. Boys face pressure to tone-up, muscle-up and look big, strong and tanned. Girls face pressure to slim-down, tone-down and look petite and small.
Why do we struggle with it? Develops at birth Our culture reinforces it – we learn it from family members, peers, media Children are susceptible and vulnerable to external stimuli and media influences A premium on staying thin
Self-Reflection What was the childhood message given to you (verbal or unspoken) about the way you looked? How has that affected your worldview and formed your beliefs in adulthood? How does that play out in your relationship with your children?
Obsessed: Young girls are growing up with a more negative body image than ever before.
Starving Tip of The Day!
“………Let me be empty and weightless and maybe I'll find some peace tonight” Sarah McLachlan “In the arms of an Angel” 90210 star Anna Lynne McCord skinny, thin, tummy
Same pose, same fonts, same boring ‘advice’ stories. Women are buying the same magazine every month!
BRITNEY SPEARS AND BODY IMAGE
Britney Spears loses diet battle Britney Spears has grown up right before our eyes. Who can forget the young star on the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine? The beautiful singer is known for her sexy, bikini abs. Lately, Britney Spears’ fat has become news. Britney is not a young, teenager any more. The cheetos, frappucinos, and big gulps have caught up to her. Her ripped abs has been seen as more of a jelly belly. And rolls have gathered on her backside.
“Britney Spears waddles through MTV Music Awards” —adrants.com “She was like a drunk elephant…” –The Blemish.com “She looked like a tick getting ready to pop” –AOL blogger sunshine5u56 “Britney looked like a hog stuffed into that bikini!”–AOL blogger psbrig NEWSPAPER HEADLINES
“No longer boasting the buff body that helped drive her to international superstardom…” –Reuters news service “The bulging belly she was flaunting was SO not hot.” –E! Online “She’s a tubby piece of shit” –WWTDD.com “THE BELLY”
“Maybe she should stick her finger down her throat to lose a few lbs?” –AOL blogger pinksodapop000 THE SOLUTION?
Here are some pictures of just-wed Kate Middleton doing some last-minute preparations and arrangements for her wedding on Wednesday afternoon in London… Responses to “Kate Middleton Candids” She recently got quite a bit thinner than she used to be……..a classic beauty. Royalty is written all over her. She looks pretty here, amazing at the wedding today……..very skinny upclose. Kate is very, very skinny (for 5′10″). There were “rumors” that she had gotten down to around 110 lbs. She has such a tiny waist …and she looked absolutely breath-taking today in her wedding dress. (very “Grace Kelly-ish”). Kate is gorgeous I think that she is a beautiful woman…..so skinny! great body very thin, beautiful! *jealous* TINY, TINY WAIST!
"ANA'S SONG (OPEN FIRE)" By Daniel Johns/Silverchair Please die Ana For as long as you're here, we're not You make the sound of laughter And sharpened nails seem softer And I need you now somehow And I need you now somehow Open fire on the needs designed On my knees for you Open fire on my knees desires What I need from you Imagine pageant In my head the flesh seems thicker Sandpaper tears corrode the film And I need you now somehow And I need you now somehow Open fire on the needs designed On my knees for you Open fire on my knees desires What I need from you And you're my obsession I love you to the bones And Ana wrecks your life Like an Anorexia life Open fire on the needs designed On my knees for you Open fire on my knees desiresWhat I need from you Open fire on the needs designed Open fire on my knees desiresOn my knees for you Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb “She’s Falling Apart” They pull up their chairs to the tableShe stares at the food on her plateAt the toast and the butterHer father, her mother, she pushes away And they rise in the morningAnd they sleep in the darkAnd even though nobody’s lookingShe’s falling apart She gets home from school too earlyAnd closes the door to her roomThere’s nothing inside herShe’s weak and she’s tired of feeling like this
Body Image - Boys
25% of males are on a weight loss diet at any given time Worry about being muscular, that means over-exercising and the use of dangerous and illegal drugs (like steroids) are on the rise. A negative body image encourages a range of self-destructive behaviours like: - eating disorders (1 in 10 people with anorexia is now male), 4% of men are purging (vomiting or exercising compulsively, also known as bulimia), about 3% of men have problems with binge eating. - exercise dependence (around 20% of regular exercisers are addicted to exercise, either psychologically or physically). - steroid abuse (around 3% of Australian teenage boys use muscle enhancing drugs like steroids). Better Health 15/5/2011
Body Image - BoysA range of causes Some of the factors that contribute to a negative body image include: Teasing in childhood (too thin, too weak, too fat) Peer pressure among boys to be tough and strong (the male code) Cultural tendency to judge people on appearance The emphasis on male sports players as role models for boys Advertising campaigns and media images featuring idealised male images Promotion by society of the ideal man as always being strong, lean and muscular Public health campaigns that urge people to lose weight Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria 2011
Looks and body shape are major focuses for bullies. When asked about the "focus" of the bullying, "looks" were a factor in 55 percent of the reported incidences. "Body shape" was a factor in 37 percent of the cases followed by race (16 percent), sexual orientation (14 percent), family income (13 percent), religion (12 percent), and disability (8 percent). Credit: Youth Voice Research Project
Fat Prejudice “This is the problem. The fatter we get, the more acceptable it becomes to society. There are so many disgusting fat people out there, just go to your local shopping centre and see giant mum and dad with little fat kids following. I see women in beauty parlours getting their toenails manicured. What's the point, their guts are so big, they won’t see the results. Work on your body, not on your feet. It’s assault to my eyes. I have no shame laughing in their face, they deserve it. Stop making bigger clothes, ambulances, plane seats, and make them suffer in embarrassment and stay indoors until they look normal. Fat people suck” -AP, in response to an article by Sue Dunlevy in the Sydney Morning Herald
Body Image & Fat Hatred in Preschoolers & Young Children The aversion toward chubbiness has been shown to begin at a very young age. According to research conducted in 2009 by the University of Central Florida and reported in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, nearly half of three- to- six year old girls worry about being fat. Body image and weight studies have shown that negative attitudes towards children who are considered “overweight” and “fat” in general have been detected in children as young as preschool-age children. Here’s some study results in a nutshell: Thin means you’re nice and fat means you’re mean Thin means I want to play with you and fat means I don’t want you as a friend Thin means I like you, fat means I don’t, and fat means “I don’t want to look like you at all” Thin means we prefer you Fat means we least prefer you Clearly, children have accepted the stereotypes about body size and weight perpetuated by society by five years of age. Heavier can mean body dissatisfaction and negative feelings Parental concerns and food restrictions can lower body esteem Aesthetic sports can make an impact Parents and Teachers can send the message Some parents are resorting to putting their babies on diets Eating Disorders are “exploding” for kids under 12
The Word On The Street In a teen’s world, words have tremendous power. Here are thirteen terms that have become a part of the daily body-bashing lexicon. Muffin Top Tits on a Stick Teacher’s Elbow Fit Chick Pooch Curvy Chick Bra Bulge Fat Chicks (also called Thick Chicks) Cankles Midsized Fat Chicks Back Fat Supersized Fat Chicks Stick Chick
When………… a person’s value and worth, comes only from their appearance (body image), or sexual appeal and behaviour sexuality is inappropriately imposed a person is sexually objectified …………it is known as ‘sexualisation’
Submission to the Inquiry into the sexualisation of children in contemporary media Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communication and the Arts April 2008 Summary of main findings Cognitive effects Depression, self-esteem and eating disorders Sexual development Identity development; attitudes and beliefs Societal effects
Effects of sexualising material The values implicit in sexualised images are that physical appearance and beauty are intrinsic to self esteem and social worth, and that sexual attractiveness is a part of childhood experience. Sexualisation occurs when: A person’s only ascribed value comes from his or her sexual appeal and behaviour, to the exclusion of other characteristics A person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness with being sexy A person is sexually objectified, and rather than being seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making, is made into a thing for others’ sexual use Sexuality is inappropriately and prematurely imposed upon a persons such as a child (Australian Psychological Society, 2008)
Toddlers in high heels…… I stumbled across this article and I nearly rolled out of my chair in disgust that a set of mothers would actually design high heeled shoes for infants and toddlers (and use their own children to model them, mind you)...sickening? Absolutely. Not only does this further the exploitation of women, but it's over sexualizing young girls (at SUCH a young age). It just keeps getting worse and worse for the next generation of females. Just look at the picture below. The baby is adorable, but the shoes make her seem like a infant version of Carrie Bradshaw. Where is the world coming to?
High heels for babies 'sexualising infants' They come in pink satin, black, even leopard and zebra print - high heels designed for babies aged up to six months. But horrified mothers see them as a new low in the campaign to sexualise infants not old enough to know what is happening to them.
Too much, too young? Retailers still selling over-sexualised clothing to kids Survey finds top chains offer inappropriate items Retailers face pressure to remove clothes from sale Two of the heeled shoes being sold to fit eight-year-olds.
OH NO THEY DIDN'T!!! COMPANY MAKES HIGH HEELED SHOES FOR TODDLERS!!!
According to the APA's study, media images of sexy girls and adults posing as adolescents 'sexualises' girls, harming them both physically and psychologically. The report defines 'sexualisation' as when: a person's value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behaviour sexuality is inappropriately imposed a person is sexually 'objectified'. Effects of sexualised media on girls Other tee shirts………. "The condom broke" "Pardon my nipple breath" "I’m living proof my mum is easy" "I’m a tits man" "Mummy likes it on top" "Wipe my butt sucker" "So hot right now" "I like big boobs and I cannot lie" "I’m bringing sexy back" "Practice safe sucks".
Toddler Beauty Pageants
6 years old dubbed prettiest girl in America works the red carpet like a show-biz pro hectic schedule - diva like demands stacked heels, lip gloss, ostrich feathers, fake tan $20,000 to secure an audience bringing her child beauty pageant to Australia
Increasing Number of Young Boys Participating in Beauty Pageants Good Morning America reports on the rise in the number of little boys participating in beauty pageants ABC News writes about a significant increase in the number of American boys who are competing in toddler beauty pageants. An estimated 10 percent of contestants are now boys, up from 5 percent five years ago. Kyle Pickering is already a pageant title holder at the age of 3.
San Francisco child protective services is investigating a mother who sparked international outrage this week after telling a national television audience that she had injected her 8-year-old daughter's face with Botox to make her more competitive in beauty pageants. May 2011
The Australian……. Cotton On vows to withdraw offensive t-shirts CLOTHING company Cotton On has admitted it "crossed the line" and today vowed to withdraw a range of offensive children's t-shirts, including one making light of child abuse, after a consumers threatened a boycott. A t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "They Shake Me'' was the last straw for many angry parents, who sent emails and Twitter messages to the company this morning expressing their disgust and an intention to vote with their feet. Last month Cotton On had stuck by its range of shirts, which included slogans such as "I'm a tits man'' and "I'm living proof my mum is easy'', saying there was a place in the market for their "edgy'' humour that pushed the boundaries. But today, as anger spread through the social networking sites, Cotton On finally cottoned on to their customers' feelings, offering a contrite apology and a promise to withdraw the offending items from sale.
The Australia Institute Corporate paedophilia: the sexualisation of children in Australia The sexualisation of Australian children in the interest of corporate profit is increasing and exposes children to a wide range of risks from a very young age, according to an analysis by Emma Rush and Andrea La Nauze. Children are increasingly being portrayed in clothing and posed in ways designed to draw attention to adult sexual features that they do not yet possess in the interest of the corporate bottom line.
Corporate Paedophilia: The sexualisation of children in Australia. Images of sexualised children are becoming increasingly common in advertising and marketing material. Children who appear aged 12 years and under, particularly girls, are dressed, posed and made up in the same way as sexy adult models. ‘Corporate paedophilia’ is a metaphor used to describe advertising and marketing that sexualises children in these ways. The metaphor encapsulates the idea that such advertising and marketing is an abuse both of children and of public morality. Dressed provocatively in a perilously short dress, fishnet tights and high-heeled PVC dominatrix boots, this is Noah Cyrus and she's just ten years old
The cumulative exposure of children and young people to sexualised images and themes has negative effects. Self objectification Depression, self-esteem and eating disorders Sexual development Identity development, attitudes and beliefs Societal effects
So how can parents teach children to value themselves, and appreciate their body type? Don’t make food a big issue Never mention the word ‘diet’ Get the children involved with the cooking Make meal times a stress free family occasion Make sure dads don’t make comments about their daughter’s weight. Don’t use food to feed emotions Compliment your child’s body on what it does - not how it looks Give them tools to deal with the pressures so they don’t turn to food for comfort Praise your teenager for their achievements and qualities rather then their appearance Teach children media awareness If your teenager is too harsh about their appearance, remind them that nobody, not even the celebrities are completely satisfied with the way they look Listen to them Make sure your children can talk to you and that you hear what they’re saying - not what you want to hear
Fathers’ Contribution to Children’s Well-being Increased self-confidence, self-reliance and assertiveness Higher academic achievement and career advancement, most notably in the fields of science, math and technology Better able to avoid teen pregnancy, early marriage and emotionally or physically abusive relationships Better equipped to resist peer pressure regarding issues such as premature sex, smoking and eating disorders More sociable and better able to work with people in authority, such as teachers or employers Show more willingness and readiness to try new things and take on challenges
Father Emotional – Detachment : A health issue for daughters. The father-daughter relationship is a “core-relationship” for females. This relationship is fundamentally critical, to healthy psychosocial development, for ALL women. Dr. K. Davis-Johnson Northcentral University, 2010 Pre-adolescent girls who are raised without a consistent healthy father-daughter relationship may: Have eating disorders Have poor body image Score poorly in school work Engage in “boyfriend-girlfriend” activity as early as 7,8,9 years old
Teen girls who are raised without a consistent, healthy father-daughter relationship may: Have poor sense of self and self esteem Develop a poor body image Are not academically motivated Hyper-focus on acquiring male attention through appearance and emotionally/physically dangerous activities Engage in promiscuous activities which can result in STI’s Become teen parents Have low standards, supported by the unconscious idea that she doesn’t deserve REAL love Engage in substance misuse / abuse Have depression
Women who were raised without a consistent, healthy father-daughter relationship may display: Deep-seated rage and anger Emotionally triggered deregulated, argumentative behaviour Doormat behaviour Poor male-female communication skills Inability to maintain healthy, long-term intimate relationships Enmeshed relationships with their sons Father hunger Depression Educating fathers, and mothers about what their daughters need from their fathers, can help decrease the numbers of fathers who love, but do not know how to emotionally connect with their daughters.
New Australian research suggests ‘rough and tumble play’ - such as that between children and fathers - may be central to emotional and brain development. Children are better able to govern thoughts and emotions and it is a first step towards quantifying the special role of fathers in helping children develop coping skills through exploration and testing limits. ''It's not about IQ, it's about the ability to sustain attention and focus.'' Dr Richard Fletcher (University of Newcastle, 2011)
14 Signs that your child may have an eating disorder 1. Erratic food habits 8. Compulsive exercising 2. Playing with food 9. Skipping meals consistently 3. Restricting food intake 10. Measuring self-worth based on weight 4. Major changes in weight in a short amount of time 11. Complaining about being overweight and fat when she clearly underweight 5. Hiding her body even after weight loss 12. Missing several periods in a row 6. Hiding food 13. Overall poor body image 7. Refusal to eat when others are present 14. Spending a lot of time in the bathroom
Strategies to reduce or prevent the proliferation of sexualised images: Media regulation Parents Schools Initiatives by young people
Collective Shoutis a new grassroots campaigns movement mobilising and equipping individuals and groups to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media which objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services. Collective Shout will name, shame and expose corporations, advertisers, marketers and media engaging in practices which are offensive and harmful especially to women and girls, but also to men and boys. Collective Shout is for anyone concerned about the increasing pornification of culture and the way its messages have become entrenched in mainstream society, presenting distorted and dishonest ideas about women and girls, sexuality and relationships.
UK report on the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood. It should be said that the Australian Government was seen to be leading the way on this issue, when it held a senate inquiry into the sexualisation of children in the contemporary media environment back in June 2008. But the UK has now left us in its tracks.... In Australia there has been little to zero action on the recommendations from the 2008 inquiry. The review promised 18 months later has never happened. Recommendations from the Australian inquiry stated that although sexualisation is a societal issue and we are all responsible, the onus must lay with industry - that is advertisers, marketers, retailers, broadcasters... In that time there has been absolutely no indication of proactive responsibility from industry. We challenge the Australian Government to pay heed to the increasing research and major concerns expressed by child psychiatrists and child psychologists. Enough reports..enough recommendations...enough finger wagging at the industry...time for action!!
Body image and the concern of Australian children: some implications for policies and practice