Monday, January 31, 2011

Gold Award Project Focuses on Negative Body Image Solutions

The Spokesman-Review, WA, reports that Girl Scouts Courtney Ramsey and Sadie Perry recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor given by the Girl Scout organization. The prestigious award required a minimum of 90 service hours for each girl and the project’s purpose was to benefit the community.

The University High School graduates used life experiences for their project, focusing on the traumatic effects that the media plays in young girls’ lives, especially in regard to their body image. Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder – the preoccupation about real or perceived flaws in one’s appearance – are at an all-time high among middle school girls.

For their project, Ramsey and Perry created an educational video and lesson plan that can be used by middle school health instructors, Girl Scout troop leaders and youth pastors to introduce the causes and health risks associated with poor body image. The girls mailed packets, including DVDs with instructional material and self-awareness questionnaires, to 25 middle schools in the Spokane area. The goal of the project was to build confidence in young girls by starting a dialog about the issue so girls are more likely to seek help, assist a friend and spread the information beyond the classroom.

A timely project, last year The Girl Scout Research Institute reported that the increased scrutiny of the fashion industry and its use of ultrathin models isn't without validation, as nearly 9 in 10 American teenage girls say that the fashion industry is at least partially responsible for "girls' obsession with being skinny," according to Beauty Redefined.

The nationwide survey, which included more than 1,000 girls ages 13 to 17, finds many girls consider the body image sold by the fashion industry unrealistic, creating an unattainable model of beauty. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed say the fashion industry (89 percent) and/or the media (88 percent) place a lot of pressure on them to be thin. However, despite the criticism of this industry, three out of four girls say that fashion is "really important" to them.

Kudos and Congrats to Courtney Ramsey and Sadie Perry! Do you know any Girl Scout Gold Award recipients you would like to congratulate?