...with Faye Brookes 23 April 2014

Body image awareness projects

Girlguiding UK has recently launched a badge intended to build and promote body confidence amongst their cohort.

The ‘Free Being Me’ badge appears in light of Girlguiding’s latest attitudes survey, which illustrates concerns surrounding body image amongst the Girlguiding population of seven- to 14-year-olds. The idea behind the badge is to promote body image confidence and also to raise awareness of issues that could affect body image, such as airbrushed media images.

To earn the badge, Guides will have to undertake a course, which challenges beauty myths as well as unhelpful body talk in order to raise awareness of such issues. It is hoped that, in turn, Guides will be better equipped to cope with body image concerns themselves. Furthermore, Guides wanting to earn the badge will have to demonstrate how they have effectively passed on the message to others in the community, meaning a wider impact may be had.

Further ambassadors for spreading the word on positive body image and its related issues are Body Gossip; they endeavour to ‘empower everybody to be the best version of themselves’ through their arts and education programmes. So far, the Body Gossip Education Programme has delivered workshops to 30,000 teenagers, gaining fantastic feedback from those who take part, their teachers and families. The team is currently working on an arts venue in East London, the Gossip Cafe; the idea behind the cafe is to create a hub to host workshops and events concerning health and wellbeing.

Caroline Horton has also developed workshops for schools to accompany her theatre show, 'Mess', which explores eating disorders in an open and honest way. The workshops are designed to raise awareness of eating disorders and their related issues, with body image issues having a focus. The project has been developed in association with B-eat and King's College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.

These projects are paving a new path in terms of body image talk and we think the work being undertaken by these projects is extremely valuable. If you would like to know more or to find out how you, your school or organisation can get involved, please see the links to the right. If you are in need of further help and support with the issues covered or others, contact your GP or go to your local A&E if you feel unsafe.

Faye Brookes

Assistant Psychologist

Faye Brookes is an Assistant Psychologist at Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service