Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

Girls, strength, and the beauty ideal: A beach conversation

Interesting insights from a high school art teacher about how the thin ideal impacts girls’ image of not just their bodies, but bodies in general.

Dr. Rebecca Hains

10464138_10102463534299393_3682031155194906082_nMy five-year-old son befriended an eleven-year-old girl at the beach last week. As they worked together to create a sand castle, her dad and I chatted about my work as a media studies professor and his work as a high school art teacher. 

“So, you said your research is about body image?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “It’s something I’m really passionate about.”

“You know, my passion is figure drawing,” he said, “but it’s difficult to teach to high school students today. They just don’t have realistic ideas about the female body.”

“Oh, in what way?” I asked. 

“Teenagers don’t know what real bodies look like any more,” he lamented. “They have a preconceived idea in their heads—a bias that they can’t see past. I can see in their drawings that they’re not seeing. So they complain: ‘Hey, Mr. Richards, how come all your women have muscles? They look like men. That’s gross.'”

“Wait a minute,” I said. “Your students think…

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This entry was posted on July 18, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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