Concerned that girls’ body confidence is reaching “crisis point,” Girlguiding has teamed up with the Dove Self Esteem Project and is training hundreds of girls and young woman to act as peer educators to their younger counterparts.
Aged between 14 and 25, the peer educators will deliver body confidence training to 400,000 girls over the next two years.
As well as challenging unhealthy body talk and exposing the way photographs are airbrushed, they will also be trained to talk frankly to girls about a range of issues – like bullying, eating disorders, sex and healthy relationships.
Group activities will include girls getting the chance to become “body confidence correspondents”, hosting press conferences and coming up with their own self-esteem boosting news stories.
Those taking part will be awarded a special Free Being Me badge, the first body-confidence badge of its kind in the UK.
Two versions of the Free Being Me programme will be delivered – one for seven to 10-year-olds and the other for 11 to 14-year-olds.
“Young people today are under constant pressure to conform to impossible and unattainable standards of beauty in a society obsessed with image and appearance,” said Laura Ede, national chair of Girlguiding’s peer education support team.
She continued: “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.”