I have something very exciting happening this week. I am starting a brand new class with secondary schools teaching young girls about Body Image. I’m even more excited as I am teaching it alongside stylist Linda Conway who has worked with U Magazine, Xpose, Ireland AM, Sunday Life Magazine and many more. It’s so lovely to be working with Linda on this as we are both so passionate about this topic as we live a breathe it everyday!
From the moment most young girls can start to feel boobs (and many even younger) they are bombarded with images in magazines, online and through peers of what the perfect body shape is. In fact the scary fact is 59% of young girls aged 14-18 are trying to lose weight on any given day. Working in the fashion industry means I have definitely not been immune to the pressure you can feel to look ‘perfect’ or indeed what the media tells us is perfect. At a healthy size 12 sometimes I wish so much that things could be different for young girls growing up. Even since I was a teen the shift in how young this topic affects young girls is quite scary.
The fact is only 5% of women have the body type that advertisers describe as ‘perfect’.
Even in my normal classes it can be scary just how many have programmed themselves to think that in order to look stylish you have to be a size 8. In order to shop with confidence you have to be a size 8. The cruel fact is the retail industry and the media both perpetuate this feeling by selling us perfect images and by stocking sizes in many cases that don’t go beyond a 14. To show women that you can look and feel stylish whatever size was and is very much the reason I set up Stylefish.
In my experience women can become completely blinded when they walk into shops, imagining themselves in such a way that their mind literally always points them to the ‘safe’ option for fear of how the other clothes might reinforce what they believe in their heads. Teenage girls are absolutely at the most vulnerable age. I just wish someone came to my school when I was 14 or 15 to give me the facts. When putting the class together we found some amazing videos and images. Check out this video:
Below is that same beautiful girl on her wedding day and on a day out with her boyfriend.
Our first school is Colaiste Isogain in my hometown of Portarlington, Co. Laois and next week we will be going to Heywood Community School in Ballinakill. If we can simply bring some positive perspective, our own experience and the facts to these young girls, it will be a really worthwhile class. If you know of any school who might be interested to talk to us please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 087 4130336. Will post pics on Facebook and keep you posted on how we are getting on.