Girl Guides are ‘free to be me’

Girlguiding is teaming up with Dove’s Self-Esteem Project (an initiative to promote real women’s bodies) in the hope it will help girls develop body confidence in an age where young girls are dieting, considering cosmetic surgery and comparing their bodies to   celebrities.

The ‘Free Being Me’ badge will also be available to Brownies aged seven to ten, who will explore how girls are portrayed as princesses and that princesses are negative body image role models. Older Girl Guides aged 10 to 14, will be taught about the ‘body image myth’ and unattainable body traits.

Laura Ede the national chair of Girlguiding’s peer educators (the women aged 14 to 25 who will lead these sessions) said;

‘Young people today are under constant pressure   to conform to impossible and unattainable standards of beauty is a society   obsessed with image and appearance.’

‘Free Being Me’ shows young people just how ridiculous this ‘image myth’ really is – teaching them to value their bodies and celebrate diversity – so they are never put-off doing something because of the way they look.’

The badge was inspired by Girlguiding’s research which found last year that one in five primary school girls have been on a diet.

Girlguiding now hopes the body confidence programme will reach 400,000 girls and young women by the end of 2016.

If there had been something like this in place when I was at School, it would have made a world of difference. I think this initiative will help so many young girls and I hope it goes from strength to strength.

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About Leyah Shanks

Positive body image activist and advocate for mental health.

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