Keeping it Real: "Tween" Girls' Real vs. Ideal Selves and Factors Influencing Body Esteem
Girls today face unremitting and competing pressures regarding beauty, weight, diet and health. The media is one influential sociocultural shaper of body image. Unfortunately, "typical" bodies represented in the media are far from typical or attainable, yet they are bodies many young girls aim to emulate. How do we teach girls to make sense of this confusing environment? What tools can we offer them to assist in navigating this potentially dangerous media terrain? Can "tween" girls build up resistance to unrealistic media images? Erin Szabo discusses her research assessing the utility of Inoculation Theory to boost girls' immunity to the potentially negative influence of a beauty saturated media environment. Along with a presentation of the results, resources are offered for talking to girls ages 5 to 95 about body image.