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Think Body-Image Awareness is a faux pas? The Girl Scouts set it straight

Think Body-Image Awareness is a faux pas? The Girl Scouts set it straight

Changing the Face of Fashion with the Girl Scouts

Have you noticed an ever-increasing awareness of advocates for positive body images, size acceptance, and fat activism? If not, then let me introduce you to advocates like Jessica Weiner, Ben Barry, NAAFA, Every Body is Beautiful. The newest organization to join the campaign for a positive body image is the Girl Scouts.

Why are these advocates for Body-Image Awareness so important?

Beauty Redefined: Girls and Body Image Survey (2010), a nationwide survey that included more than 1,000 girls ages 13 to 17, shows many girls consider the body image sold by the fashion industry unrealistic, creating an unattainable model of beauty. Â Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed say the fashion industry (89 percent) and/or the media (88 percent) place a lot of pressure on them to be thin. Â However, despite the criticism of this industry, 3 out of 4 girls say that fashion is “really important” to them.

Take a closer look at these numbers!

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute:

Girls attribute media and fashion to the pressure to be thin.

  • Nine in ten girls say the fashion industry (89%) and/or the media (88%) place a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin.

Girls say they would prefer to see more “natural”/”real” images in the media.

  • Eighty-one percent of girls would rather see “real” or “natural” photos of models than touched-up, airbrushed versions.
  • Seventy-five percent would be more likely to buy clothes they see on “real-size models” than on super-skinny ones.

Girls have a love/hate relationship with the fashion industry.

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  • Three in four girls (75%) say that fashion is really important to them.
  • Forty-eight percent wish they were as skinny as the models in fashion magazines.
  • Forty-seven percent say fashion magazines give them a body image to strive for.
  • Forty-one percent say they prefer to see the latest fashions on skinny models rather than on fuller-sized women.


  • Sixty-five percent of girls think that the body image represented by the fashion industry is too skinny; 63% think it is unrealistic; and 47% think it is unhealthy. More than a quarter (28%) say the fashion industry body image looks sick.
  • Sixty percent say that they compare their bodies to fashion models.
  • Only 46% think the fashion industry does a good job of representing people of all races and ethnicities, with Caucasian girls the most likely to say this (52%, compared to only 42% of Hispanics and 32% of African Americans).
  • Thirty-one percent of girls admit to starving themselves or refusing to eat as a strategy to lose weight.

In an effort to continue to make change, the Girls Scout launched “The Changing Face of Fashion,” an initiative addressing the image of girls in the media.  Girl Scouts of the USA enlisted four models from Wilhelmina Curve creating a collective of videos, through It’s Your Story, exploring self-esteem and personal empowerment from the perspectives of plus size models Lizzie Miller, Anansa Sims, Leona Palmer and Julie Henderson, directed and shot by lifestyle and beauty photographer Cathrine Westergaard.

What do you think?

View Comments (3)
  • Good for them! As a chubby petite woman (who feels like she belongs in no group – but that’s a big part of it; we’re all different), I’m putting my own campaigning in for better mental body image, self-esteem, and putting in my own efforts to make realistic women more visible. (Even if I have to bare my own thighs in shorts on my blog – which is slow going; I wish I could make a tiny assistant out of my extra fat!)

  • This is really excellent!  I do lessons on positive body image and good self esteem.  But I speak with mixed classes, and boys are also vulnerable to poor body image and self esteem.  What is out there for them?

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