Bashing The ‘Thin Ideal’ Helps Young Women Develop Body Acceptance

A scientist at the Oregon Research Institute is doing something some might call dramatic.

He’s asking young women to get angry about the ‘thin ideal’ that’s idolized in modern America – and to start bashing it into oblivion for the sake of their own self-esteem.

The Body Project

Eric Stice is the man behind the idea and the lead author of The Body Project, an eating disorders prevention program targeted toward young women in high school and college.

The main concept of the program is helping these young women challenge and critique thin body image ideals through a variety of ways, including essays or personal projects. By arguing against the idea that thin is better, these women are effectively changing their own minds about what is acceptable in terms of how they look – results that have been proven with brain scans.

“How much women buy into the ‘thin ideal’ is at the headwaters of a cascade of risk factors,” Stice said in a talk at Duke University last week. “If people participate in exercises where they bash the ‘thin ideal,’ they persuade themselves out of pursuing this unattainable goal.”

Perfection costs women their health

The perfection ideal, Stice says, is costing many women their health, and it’s not something we can continue to strive for as a society.

“If you look at the cover of Cosmo, nobody looks like that. It’s all photo-shopped,” he said.

The Body Project blog posts videos, articles and personal accounts of women struggling with body image issues. The site encourages readers to send in their stories – whether about overcoming an eating disorder or struggling with societal pressures to be thin – via email.

Source: DUKE

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