BK’s YouTube Picks: Body Image Legacy

I’ve been writing a blog post for Girlguiding about a project on body confidence we did this year. However, on a hunt for a video we used doing it, I came across a new video from Dove Self-Esteem Project. One of the things I’ve really noticed over the last year is how much what our mothers say about themselves can affect what we daughters think about ourselves. One of the mixed messages we can get is when our mothers smile when they are told how much we look like them, but then on another day complain about how fat/old/ugly they think they are….what does that say about what us mini-mes look like (or are going to look like)?!

If we tell someone that they are beautiful, but then go on to say that we are not…it sends a message that what we say cannot be trusted. It’s a mixed message.

Let’s stop being mean about ourselves and each other…?

 

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Quote of the Week 21: Letting people learn…

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Myself and my fellow Guide leader came away from a meeting recently feeling totally and completely emotionally drained. Our unit is coming to the end of a huge project. We spent 6 weeks before Easter learning about body image and the image myth.

 

The girls got to design their own self portraits then spent a session with a professional photographer student to take the portraits. They decided they would exhibit them but also added parts they wanted – to invite local news, to have an inspiration wall of people who they admire, quotes that encourage and inspire them. Now that it’s about to all become reality we have found nerves are setting in, and negative thoughts are entering their heads questioning their own value.

We’ve heard statements like “well, I’m not a good person”, “why would anyone care what I have to share?” and it’s so upsetting to hear.

We can see their value. We are 99% that younger girls and their peers will be encouraged by what they have to share. And I wish there was a way that I could teach them that. I thought we had.

Now I realise that we can’t teach them that. They are going to have to learn it themselves. There is no shortcut through those crappy teenage years. And I guess we are trying to strap parachutes on them and hope that when they jump out of the proverbial plane into ‘the real world’ they’ll sail rather than plummet to the ground.

We hope that one day the lightbulb will go on, and they’ll realise that they have a story to tell, that everything they think is learned from somewhere and that they have so much value.

In the meantime, all I feel we can do is keep encouraging them and showing them in word and action how much value we believe they have and hope that one day they’ll realise we weren’t just saying it – we meant it, believed it…KNEW it.

But man I wish those lessons could be taught more easily…! 🙂

BK’s YouTube Picks: Love your curls

I didn’t always have curly hair. I loved my long blonde flowing hair when I was little. My hair developed this wavy fluffy frizz when hormones started kicking in…around the same time my blonde hair went mousy brown. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true to say that I spent more hours than I’d care to admit, crying over my hair. Begging to be taken to expensive hairdressers in the hopes they’d be able to help. Crying as soon as I washed my hair after a haircut because it looked awful. And then spending most of my student days wrecking my hair by straightening it into submission with straighteners (flat irons to my American friends) and silicone based conditioners, serums, oils, balms…you see it on the shelves of hairdressing salons and chemists? I probably tried it at some point.

When I was about 19 or 20, my friend Clare (another curly girl) suddenly started embracing her curls…and it looked amazing. She has these amazing tight cockscrew curls. SHe informed me it was simply a bit of hair mousse when her hair was wet, and letting it dry naturally. I decided to give it ago, to see if maybe I could turn my frizz fluff into some curls. Turns out I had some wavy curls.

However I found them difficult to control and still would get upset at how I couldn’t control them all. Some would go flat, some had curly bounce!

As you know, one of the Girlguiding groups I work with is doing a project called Free Being Me. While on a search for a video the Dove Self-Esteem Project made many years ago which portrays the image myth, I came across a more recent video made by the same company.

It’s for this reason, I’m trying my best to embrace my curls. I’m getting better. Sometimes frustration gets the better of me and my straighteners come back out again. But noticing a few of my curly girled Guides had started straightening their hair, I realised I needed to be a better role model! I got my hair cut short recently, because my hair was so wrecked from the last few years of hair dyeing – it was beyond repair. I’ve gone to Guides with short curly hair, and the days it’s down – the girls have actually commented and asked me about my hair. I guess it’s different from how they are used to seeing me. I just hope those curly girls find confidence and know their curls are awesome as other girls’ straight hair.

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