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Body Image Presentation for Fifth Grade Boys

June 25, 2012

Boys’ body image presentation  <–click for PowerPoint presentation

Some background: I am a fifth grade teacher, and I always do a body image presentation for my girls each spring, focused mainly on the negative effects that the media has on female body image.  (This presentation for girls is posted earlier in my blog.)

This year, however, I noticed that some of my boys were saying negative things about their bodies, and even a lot of grown men were doing the same thing.  They were complaining about being too fat, too thin, not buff enough, having too much body hair, not smelling good, etc.  Most of them sounded as ridiculous as women usually do when they have these complaints about themselves.

My theory is that men’s attitudes towards their appearance are changing because the beauty industry has started to turn its advertising attention to men.  Even over the past five or ten years, the beauty industry’s advertising strategy toward men has changed and has become more centered around creating or tapping into male insecurities.  Men really have been an uptapped resource for this industry for a very long time.  Since making women feel ugly worked so well for bringing in the money, maybe the same thing would work on men.

At this point in time, most girls and women have heard about the negative effects of media on body image.  They are watching all the “real beauy” campaigns.  Even if they are not fighting back effectively, they are at least aware that there are some very nasty things going on with female self-esteem, body image, the media, etc.  They are at least ready to defend each other and support each other if they don’t always defend and support themselves.

But boys at this point (and men!) are sitting ducks.  They are not aware that they have become the targets.  As a woman who has gone through all of that negative body image stuff, I believe that it is my duty not to let the same thing happen to boys and men.  We need to get the word out, and we need to start preparing our boys and our men so that, even if they are targets, at least they are prepared to defend themselves.

You’ll find that, in addition to the images, the PowerPoint has lots of talking points in the notes sections.  Please feel free to informally show the above presentation to your classroom, to friends, etc.  I do not have permission to use any of the photos, so please use at your own risk.

I found that the presentation was very effective and educational with my fifth grade boys.

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