National College Grigore Ghica Dorohoi
BODY TALK WORKSHOP
Appearance for high school students is synonymous to being successful. At their age, looking good makes them popular amongst their peers, improves their social life, increases self-esteem , which in its turn, leads to better self-confidence, better grades, more opportunities and higher rate of succeeding in life.
However, highschool also proves to be the most frail and crucial period of a teenager, who may have accumulated frustrations, low self-esteem and even lower self-confidence due to their constant comparison to false models promoted either by professional media or social media, creating a pressure to which only few students manage to overcome. Some of them may go to extremes to get the look the think they should have, girls usually starve themselves and faint at school , boys start thinking that tattoos and piercings or the latest fashion would help a lot. Most of them do not even realize how beautiful they are the way they are according to their age, they try to look more mature : girls by dying their hair or wearing too much make up, boys by wearing weird hairstyles, piercings and ridiculous clothes, working too much at the gym or starting to smoke.
Thus, 10 students (5 boys and 5 girls), aged 16-18, took part in a two-hour Bodytalk workshop in order to put the theory to test. How much of the media influences the way they look like, and how faithful they perceive their self-image. The language of communication was English, and the workshop was held by Gianina Cucoreanu, teacher of English .
The students worked in two different teams at the beginning.
The answers were amazing.
Girls’ positive comments:
- It can motivate you - You can become rich and famous and get what you want - You can “steal the show” - Attract the people you hang out with
Girls’ negative comments:
- You forget who you really are - Sometimes you become obsessed - Use make-up which doesn’t suit your face - Some people don’t look good with blonde hair - Lack of confidence - Low self-esteem
Boys’ positive comments:
- Keeping fit - Boost self-esteem - Keep up with the Johnses when it comes to style - Being popular - Being looked up to - A successful life - You can get to choose whom to date from a list - You can inspire others
Boys’ negative comments:
- Lack of originality - Uneven beard growth - Unfit clothes - Change of attitude - Big chances of failure - Feeling uncomfortable with yourself.
4. All students watched two videos : Male beauty in the world and The Definition of sexy in the world and commented on how beauty is extremely subjective from a continent to another, from country to country, and how professional media usually sell us false images of what beautiful means, putting pressure on students their age to look either too skinny or wear beards and tattoos and earrings to be cool. How flawless images on the Internet, Instagram and other social media make them superficial in their search for the best photo out of 50 selfies, or the whitest teeth for a perfect smile and an endless diet to fit size 3.
5. Students had to fill in Activity sheet 3 individually : Be a Champion of Change! They had to write to themselves in order to start perceiving themselves with other eyes and change their attitude concerning their self-image.
“ I pledge to start feeling more comfortable with myself. I will try to be more realistic when it comes to the way I feel about myself.” (boy) “ I’ll focus on the surroundings when commenting on a photo on Facebook. I’ll post pictures with me looking natural, remembering that not all the pictures on the media are real” (boy) “ start being thankful for how I look like” (boy) “ appreciate my originality, being thankful for who I am, reducing the influence of the media on me” (boy) “ think again before judging others and myself about actions, unaltered photos of myself on Facebook from now on, being ok with my looks” (boy) “ to not use too much the editing programes just to seem like something we are not, use less make up, promote the idea of natural look, be yourself! (girl) “ be confident and natural” (girl)''
The answers at the end of the activities really meant that students understood two things: that they are unique and their beauty is unique ( a boy said “ why should I look like David Bechham? Why should't he want to look like me?” , which was a shift of attitude I did not even think it would be possible to obtain in one workshop) and , that professional media and social media should not change who they are, but just merely improve some aspects of their life like taking up a sport ( to be athletic like David Becham, one boy suggested), that a positive attitude is the best ally in high school years.