Girls promote positive body image


A group of York teenagers have launched a campaign to challenge the use of “stick-thin models” on billboards and in shop windows.

The project began as part of the students’ citizenship GCSE course at Joseph Rowntree School in New Earswick, York.

The year 9 pupils were discussing how to encourage greater student involvement in PSHE in schools and colleges and decided to run campaigns about a variety of PSHE issues.

Molly Horner, 13, Alison Coates, 13, Lucy Freer, 14, and Megan Guest, 14, came up with the idea of tackling attitudes to body image.

“As young women we know about the immense pressure to look perfect,” explained Molly. “The only image of a healthy body we are presented with are the airbrushed, stick-thin models that grace billboards and window displays everywhere. These pictures cannot even be attained without heavy-duty computer effects or from becoming seriously ill. 

“We want to empower young women to know that their whole point in life is not just to look perfect, not just to attract men, but to be a person and make a difference.”

The four girls got in touch with local shops in York to take the campaign forward. They have launched a blog, hope to make a short film and are in talks with a local shopping centre about the possibility of using pictures of real customers rather than images of airbrushed models.

“The teachers at school have been really supportive,” said Molly. “It is the sort of project that makes us better citizens.”

To read the pupils’ blog, go to


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