2017, January 31 – Last weekend, Center for Girls’ international volunteer Emily led a Body Positivity Workshop at the CRPC shelter. Adolescence is a particularly impressionable time and we, as adults, need to make sure to set a good example for teenage girls. Young girls are constantly bombarded with photoshopped images of “perfection”, often tease/or get teased about their weight, and are not properly taught how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to DoSomething.org, 44% of high school girls are trying to lose weight and 70% of girls believe they are simply not good enough. At the shelter, the twelve girls partake in life skills activities every weekend that range from HIV/AIDS awareness classes to Lit Club, and we felt it would be beneficial for them to learn about the many different forms that health, true beauty, and confidence can take.
According to the girls, the “ideal” form of beauty in Thailand includes white skin, straight hair, large eyes, smaller lips, V-shaped chin, and prominent nose just to name a few. The goal of this exercise was to encourage the girls to think critically about the myths behind these unachievable standards and what it actually means to be beautiful. We went around the circle and discussed what we felt about ourselves and why. Emily played Scars To Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara, a ballad that embraces self-love, and the Dove Beauty Sketch video to show the girls how differently we perceive beauty in ourselves versus how others perceive beauty in us. According to the Dove Beauty Campaign, 92% of teenage girls would like to change something about their looks, with weight being the most sought after change. One of the hopes for this workshop is to remind these twelve young girls that they don’t need to change to fit someone else’s idea of beauty.
After a small break, the group spent some time discussing healthy eating and healthy living, along with the importance of exercise every day. Perhaps one of the most significant points that was made was to encourage the girls to surround themselves with positive people who won’t bring them down. “In a study carried out among some female students, 80% of them claimed that their negative body image was linked to the negative remarks made by friends and family” (Source), so the girls were asked to write down what they would say to a friend if she was feeling badly. We then put the stickers around the mirror to remind the girls to be as kind to themselves as they are to others whenever they look at their reflection.
Our final activity was a compliment circle that involved each girl saying something nice to the girl on her left. It was uplifting to hear the girls send such positive messages to each other. Though this workshop was small, it was a successful step forward towards promoting self-confidence, compassion, and self-love within the girls. Center for Girls always enjoys partnering with Child Rights Protection Center to work together in empowering the girls and giving them the life skills they need to create bright futures for themselves.
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