This guide to weight and body image from the Girl Scouts is freaking amazing.

A quick and simple look at fighting negative body image.

The Girl Scouts' guide to help parents talk to their daughters about weight and body image is kind of amazing.

The guide, titled "Yes, Your Daughter Just Called Herself Fat," written by Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist, Andrea Bastiani Archibald, includes a step-by-step look at responding to your child should they come home one day from school saying, "I'm fat."

First of all, it breaks down just how prevalent fat-shaming is in our culture:


"According to studies, a whopping 80 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. Why? Because they’re constantly surrounded by both subtle and direct messages that curvier or heavier girls aren’t as well liked, aren’t as likely to succeed in business, and in general, aren’t going to have as much fun or happiness in their lives."

Second of all, it explains why the knee-jerk response "You're not fat. You're beautiful!" that so many of us have actually isn't helpful.

Honestly, this part is so good that I'm just going to include the whole thing (which in its own awesome way, features the only reference to "The Dress" that won't make you want to scream):

"[I]f she really sees her body in a certain way, simply telling her to stop seeing it that way isn’t going to help much. Remember that infamous dress on social media a few years back that some people thought was blue and some thought was gold—and how frustrating it was when those who saw it differently insisted that you were seeing it wrong and tried to get you to see it their way? That’s kind of how your girl is going to feel when you tell her that her body simply isn’t the way she thinks it is.
...by essentially telling her that she's not fat, she's pretty, you're reinforcing the idea that fatter, rounder, curvier or heavier bodies aren't beautiful — which simply isn't true. There are endless ways to be beautiful, and your daughter will grow up with a much healthier relationship to her body if you teach her that in a genuine way from a young age."

This is such an important message that we don't hear often enough. Calling someone fat isn't bad because being fat is inherently bad, but it is bad to call someone fat as an insult because it implies that there's something wrong with larger bodies.

Fat is just another type of body, and all types of bodies are OK.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 3484 pose for photos with the "Fearless Girl" statue in New York. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The guide also features some great steps parents can take if their daughters feel negatively about their body fat.

1. Don't assume you know where she's coming from.

"A better approach is to pause for a moment and ask your daughter why she thinks she’s fat," the guide advises. "Is it because her clothes are fitting differently than they used to or that a size she used to wear doesn’t feel comfortable anymore?"

Maybe her discomfort has to do more with the bodies of her classmates or what she's seeing in the media. Or maybe she is fat, and really just needs you to tell her that's OK too. Getting to the root of what's causing body image issues is an important first step.

Again, the guide warns against those knee-jerk reactions: "If she says she thinks her legs are bigger or her tummy is rounder than those of her friends, those may actually be correct observations — and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that."

2. Set a good example for her!

Kids pick things up from their parents all the time and internalize those messages even if parents aren't trying to pass them on. This is just as much about setting a good example as anything else.

"Another reason your girl might call herself fat is because she’s heard you do the same to yourself," reads the guide. "Your daughter listens to everything you say — and if you’re picking yourself apart in front of the mirror or complaining about your weight, there’s a good chance that she’ll follow in your self-disparaging footsteps."

That means giving yourself a bit of a break too. Just as you don't want her to have to try to live up to unrealistic beauty standards, remind yourself that you don't have to either.

"Identify parts of your body that serve you well and make note of the things you really do love about the way you look," says the guide. "Healthy habits like eating right and exercise are good for everyone and should be a daily part of your routine, but fixating on your body and how it could or should be different isn’t healthy for anyone."

3. Pay attention to the kind of media she's consuming and make sure she's seeing a variety of body types being celebrated.

TV, movies, and advertising are chock-full of messages meant to instill shame around body appearance, especially in girls and women. A bit of emotional counterprograming can go a long way. For example, check out the upcoming children's book "Glitter Stripes"; and for older girls, Hulu's "My Mad Fat Diary," Melissa McCarthy's performance in "Ghostbusters," and Chrissie Metz in "This Is Us," and Lynn Champlin on "My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" are great body-positive/fat-positive representations in the media.

The guide advises parents to "go the extra mile to compensate for some of the less-healthy messages your daughter may be getting from other sources" by exposing them to accomplished women of all shapes and sizes.

"She needs to know you don’t have to be a certain size or shape to make it big in life."

This guide is just one of the many phenomenal parenting resources you can find on the Girl Scouts website.

Other topics include how to raise your children to be leaders, how to stand up to bullying, and how to be the best they can be in school. They're all great in their own ways, but the body image article stands out especially.

Thanks to the Girl Scouts, parents can now feel equipped to handle this potentially difficult conversation.

Girl Scouts cross the Golden Gate Bridge at the Girl Scouts of the USA and National Park Service Hosted Bridging Ceremony in May 2015. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Girl Scouts of the USA.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture