Fears over diet of superficiality


A girls' school head has highlighted the dangers of society's obsession with physical appearance.

A girls’ school head has highlighted the dangers of society’s obsession with physical appearance.

Speaking at the Institute of Development Professionals in Education’s (IDPE) annual conference last Thursday (June 21), Dr Helen Wright said that youngsters are constantly bombarded with messages that appearance is more important than character.

In a speech about leadership in schools, the head of St Mary’s Calne, an independent school based in Wiltshire, warned that today’s students are “soaking up a diet of empty celebrity and superficiality”.

She argued that images of scantily clad celebrities like Kim Kardashian sum up “almost everything that is wrong with Western society”.

Dr Wright told her audience: “I have spoken out a lot over the past two years about the increasing dangers of the premature sexualisation of young people, and the objectification of women which accompanies this.” 

Kim Kardashian is famous for the reality television series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, her glamorous celebrity lifestyle and her 72-day marriage.

“What is she telling our young people about life?” asked Dr Wright. “As a society we have clearly attached a value to her, and there may be some messages about hard work buried in there somewhere – I expect she has to slave in the gym to keep that posterior in shape – but these are very hidden messages, buried under the other messages surrounded by glitz and sparkle.”

Dr Wright, a former president of the Girls’ Schools Association, also told the IDPE that politicians, even though “well-intentioned”, are “far too involved in schools and should, basically, back off”.


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