Two girls making love sign with sunflowers in background

8 tips from experts to foster a body positive environment for girls

by non-for-profit organisation, Pretty Foundation, who is challenging Australians to flip a piece of clothing inside-out for the day

As parents we play a significant role in shaping our daughter’s body image from an early age. Often, what we say and do in front of our daughters has the power to influence their body image and where they see their true value.

Our body image experts have developed eight useful ways to flip what we say or do, in order to help our girls realise their true value.

1 // Flip a BODY CONDEMNATION to a BODY COMMENDATION

Rather than expressing disapproval of our bodies in front of our daughters, let’s start praising what our bodies can do for us. This will demonstrate to our girls that our bodies are a vehicle for life!

2 // Flip DIETING to a BALANCED DIET

Instead of talking about dieting in front of our girls, let’s speak to them about eating food for nourishment and enjoyment. Dieting and weight loss talk reinforce messages that we need to look a certain way and may encourage weight change behaviours in our daughters when they are older. Aim to model eating a balanced diet, including “sometimes” foods in moderation.

3 // Flip ‘YOU ARE PRETTY’ to ‘YOU ARE PRETTY…?’

Instead of focusing on our daughter’s physical attractiveness, giving our daughters compliments about
their skills, personality or character will show them that you value them for more than how they look. You’re pretty kind, pretty talented, pretty courageous!

Two girls playing in garden4 // Flip WEIGHING OUR BODIES to WEIGHING OUR CHARACTER

Teaching our girls that our value isn’t defined by the number on the scales is so important. Let’s get them to focus on ‘weighing their character’ and realising that this is far more important than their appearance.

5 // Flip from a MEDIA THAT SHAMES GIRLS’ BODIES to a MEDIA THAT RECLAIMS GIRLS’ VALUE

Often media can shame girls’ bodies and reinforce messages that girls have to look a certain way to be
acceptable and valuable. Instead of allowing our girls to watch shows that do this, let’s give them books, toys and television shows that reclaim their true value and promote body confidence. It is also helpful to help girls to be critical of what they see in the media.

6 // Flip REMARKS ON HER APPEARANCE to HER REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENTS

It can be easy to let negative remarks slip out about someone else’s appearance. Let’s be aware of this and flip this into focusing on celebrating others’ remarkable achievements.

7 // Flip FAT-DRIVEN EXERCISE to FUN-DRIVEN EXERCISE

Engage in fun physical activity with our children. Rather than talking about exercising for weight loss or muscle building, focus on physical activity that is fun, enjoyable, and healthy for our bodies (e.g., helping your heart feel strong).

8 // Flip COMPARING OUR BODIES to CELEBRATING OUR BODIES

It is natural for children to compare themselves to others, but when it comes to appearance let’s encourage our girls to be confident in the way they are and who they are, without the need to look like others. And let’s celebrate what makes each of us special and unique.

The current reality of our society is that it teaches our girls that their value is in their appearance and that they need to strive for an unrealistic ‘ideal body’. Our girls grow up not only believing that they are valued for what they look like but they are also left feeling like they can never measure up. 

To truly see change, we need not only women and girls getting behind this but we need men and boys to stand with us in championing this cause. On Friday 23rd November we are calling all Australians to flip a piece of clothing inside out for the day and commit to valuing girls from the inside not out. We’ll also be raising funds through the campaign that will help drive further body image initiatives for young girls.

To get involved, simply register you or your family to flip a piece of clothing inside for the day and help us raise funds for our body image initiatives.

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