Girlguiding UK has launched a new body confidence badge to challenge pressure to look ‘perfect’ in today’s society.
Girls will be taught about unhealthy body ideals and be encouraged to spot airbrushed photos in order to earn the badge as part of the ‘Free Being Me’ programme.
It follows a Girlguiding survey which found that one in five primary school-aged girls have dieted, and one in four girls aged 11-21 would consider cosmetic surgery.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts partnered with Dove to design the programme.
Statistics from Dove found that close to half of 11-14 year old girls are avoiding speaking up in class and opting out of activities such as swimming because they dislike their appearance.
Laura Ede, national chair of Girlguiding’s peer educators who will deliver the programme, 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”, she added.
The ‘Free Being Me’ programme is being rolled out for 400,000 girls and young women over the next two years, with separate activities designed for Girl Guides and Brownies.
To receive the badge, girls must complete two sessions and then take part in telling others in their communities about the programme through posters, videos and t-shirts.
Girlguiding UK has launched a campaign to run alongside the badge, which encourages girls to take a pledge in order to tackle the body image crisis.
Jenny Willott MP, minister for women and equalities, welcomed the move saying: “Low body confidence is a serious issue which has been linked to depression, obesity, low aspirations and eating disorders.”
“It’s really important that we all work together to challenge our culture of unrealistic imagery and the pressure to be perfect”, she added.