Girl Guides issue Body Confidence Badge

The Girl Guides launched a new ‘body confidence’ badge in March, in response to ‘a crisis’ in the way girls perceive themselves. The ‘Free being me’ badge involves girls having to spot airbrushed photos and will be adapted for younger Brownies, who will be taught that princesses are negative role models for body image. To attain the badge, girls will have to attend two sessions on the issue and spread the word in their local community.

 Girlguiding is partnering with the Dove Self-esteem Project and hopes to help girls to develop body-confidence in a society where children and young people are dieting and considering plastic surgery. Laura Ede, national chair of Girlguiding’s peer educators, said: ‘Young people today are under constant pressure to conform to impossible and unattainable standards of beauty in 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 research carried out by the Girl Guides which showed that one in five primary aged girls has been on a diet and that 38 per cent of those aged 11-21 had skipped meals to help lose weight. Emma Scrivener, author of A New Name, told Premier Christian Radio: ‘When you’re at primary school there are very limited options that you can control in your life, but you can control what you eat and your own body, so it’s a form of rebellion you can get away with. Thinness is seen as something that is really positive, so if you’re feeling conflicted about your own body, this is a way to do something about lots of different issues. Campaigns like “Free being me” are a great start and helping people to see airbrushing and how they’re being manipulated is really important. We need to focus on identity that goes beyond bodies; it’s not just your looks, you have to have worth in yourself.’

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