A UK children's health expert says one way to fight bad body image among girls is for schools to encourage boys to tell girls that they are attracted to qualities other than sheer slenderness. Uh... has this guy ever MET any teenagers? I can see approximately 50,000 ways for this to go wrong.
The Telegraph recently spoke to Body Wars author Aric Sigman, who has some really fascinating ideas for fostering body positivity in schools. Namely, teachers should recruit boys:
"It would be helpful for them to explain that what they find attractive is not just physical qualities but also qualities like caring, the sound of a girl's voice and her body language.
"Boys don't have in any way near as rigid a view on what an attractive figure should be and they value many other physical qualities, including eyes, hair, and body language."
More importantly, Dr Sigman said, boys should tell girls "that there are women who appear model-perfect visually but are just not sexy and there are girls who do not seem model material but are very attractive".
Apparently he'll be speaking at an upcoming HMC Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, where he'll "present empirical evidence" that dudes are drawn to the "hated female pear-shaped body."
"An increase in fat on hips, thighs and bottoms is not only natural but good for girls because it is appealing to males," said Dr Sigman. "It's protects girls from heart disease and diabetes and the great news is that men like that body fat on women."
Look: I don't disagree that men can help in the fight against women feeling like shit about their bodies. But it's probably more urgent to teach boys not to fall in with the crowd and say shitty things about any girl's body. What's more, this approach would just encourage young people of both sexes to think that women's bodies exist for the sake of men, to be approved or rejected. How're you supposed to feel better about your body when you're still encouraged to look to someone else as arbiter? (Not to mention that, hey, some women aren't attracted to men! What a concept!) This idea is dumb, dumb, dumb.
And, again: Has this dude ever attended a middle or high school? Anybody who's spent fifteen minutes in the toxic stew of hormones that is your average cafeteria ought to know this would only end in tears.
Photo via michaeljung/Shutterstock.
Contact the author at email@example.com.