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Girl Scouts offer 'body confidence' badge for young troopers


Girl Guides and Girl Scouts can do a lot more than stand around looking cute selling cookies.

That's the idea behind the latest badge offered to troop members in the organization, which reads "Free Being Me" and aims to help spread positive body image ideals among young girls.

The badge will be awarded to scouts and guides who complete a training course session on body image and body acceptance – and who help spread this message within their communities. Girls will be taught how to identify airbrushing in magazines, the body image "myth" of ideal beauty, and why figures like Disney princesses are negative role models in many ways.

"Girl Guiding is focusing on issues that all young girls face, or will do, in today’s image-obsessed society where everyone’s taking selfies, and it’s living up to its name by giving young girls the guidance they need," wrote Radhika Sanghani of The Telegraph.

'Free Being Me' to celebrate image diversity

In recent years, the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts organization has been moving away from offering some of the more traditional badges that promote rigid gender roles, like the "homemaking" badge.

About 1,000 peer educators between the ages of 14 and 25 have been trained to help teach the body-confidence badge training sessions and spread the message to young troop members.

One Girl Guides survey found that one in five girls in elementary school had been on a diet and that 38 percent of girls between 11 and 21 had skipped meals in attempts to lose weight.

“'Free Being Me' shows young people just how ridiculous this ‘image myth’ really is – teaching them to value their bodies and celebrate diversity – so they are never put off doing something because of the way they look,” Sanghani said.

Source: The Telegraph, The Independent