If your child asked “What’s your favorite part of your body?”, what would your answer tell them about self-esteem and your own personal body image issues?
Body image can be an incredibly important issue for children and teens and, more often than you might think, a child’s concerns about their own body might originate from an unlikely source—their parents. Think about it. To all the parents out there—how often have you made negative remarks about your own physical appearance in front of your children? And, while a little self-depreciating humor is never a bad thing, children can often parse little nuggets of truth out of those remarks, picking up on their parents’ all-too-true anxieties and dissatisfactions about how they look. This video from Australia’s Mannequin Project does a fantastic job of bringing those anxieties to life (albeit in an exaggerated fashion that toes the line between hilarious and sad):
Originating in Melbourne, Australia, The Mannequin Project is a “collaboration of volunteers, experts and creatives with one purpose: To start a new conversation about body image.” And their efforts, exemplified by that video, really do shine a light on how important it is for parents to be aware of the importance of talking to their kids about body image issues.
From their website:
According to research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, today more than half of children aged 8 – 9 expressed dissatisfaction with their bodies. The same report revealed 61% of boys and 56% of girls aged 10 – 11 actively tried to manage their weight in the past twelve months.
Children growing up today are facing body dissatisfaction in a way that’s never been seen before. This generation is rapidly approaching adolescence and there are grave concerns about the impacts it will have on their mental health, confidence and self-esteem.
The Mannequin Project is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help fund a documentary that blends research and entertainment to help audiences better understand body dissatisfaction. If you’re interested in learning more, you can also find them online via their website, Twitter, or Facebook.