Body Image in the Media (Ages 12-17)

Body Image in the Media (Ages 12-17)

This playlist introduces educators to films which address the themes of body image, gender, and relationships through the films: Flawed, The Colour of Beauty, Fat Chance, Western Eyes and Shredded. While the films use very different storytelling techniques - one is an animated, personal story; another is a short, journalistic piece; and the third is a traditional feature-length documentary - they will all inspire important discussions around ways of seeing bodies across various media and cultural industries. The complete educator's guide for Flawed provides you with practical suggestions for incorporating hands-on activities in your classroom.

Download the Flawed study guide here.

This playlist aims to introduce students to personal and universal questions about relationships, career choices, safety, gender, race and body politics. Learning outcomes of using the bundle will include:

-exploring representations of gender, race, and body politics in the media
-understandings of healthy decision-making
-exploring conflict resolution
-using positive communication skills
-knowledge of fine arts and media technology
-deconstructing media messages in the media
-integrating broader concepts of perspective, storytelling and artistic expression.

  • Flawed
    2010|12 min

    Flawed is nothing less than a beautiful gift from Andrea Dorfman's vivid imagination, a charming little film about very big ideas. Dorfman has the uncanny ability to transform the intensely personal into the wisely universal. She deftly traces her encounter with a potential romantic partner, questioning her attraction and the uneasy possibility of love. But, ultimately, Flawed is less about whether girl can get along with boy than whether girl can accept herself, imperfections and all.

    This film is both an exquisite tribute to the art of animation and a loving homage to storyboarding, a time-honoured way of rendering scenes while pointing the way to the dramatic arc of the tale.

  • Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia
    2019|23 min

    What is fatphobia and what can be done to overcome it? With poetic illustrations and painful, compelling testimony, Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia offers multiple examples of the psychological effects of weight-based discrimination and bullying on adolescent girls. Download the mini-guide here.

  • The Colour of Beauty
    2010|17 min

    Renee Thompson is trying to make it as a top fashion model in New York. She's got the looks, the walk and the drive. But she’s a black model in a world where white women represent the standard of beauty. Agencies rarely hire black models. And when they do, they want them to look “like white girls dipped in chocolate.”

    The Colour of Beauty is a shocking short documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry. Is a black model less attractive to designers, casting directors and consumers? What is the colour of beauty?

    This film is part of the Work For All series, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, with the participation of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

  • Shredded

    This short film follows a group of teenage boys eager to emulate the muscle-filled bodies of their media heroes. Revealing the lengths these boys are willing to go to achieve their goal, this film explores the use of supplements and the temptations of steroids. The boys relate their experiences, desires and motivations to the audience, who are left to draw their own conclusions.

    The film is designed to provoke discussion among teenagers about body image and where lines should be drawn between healthy and dangerous behaviour.

  • Western Eyes
    2000|39 min

    This documentary presents two Canadian women of Asian descent who are contemplating eyelid surgery. Maria and Sharon, of Philippino and Korean heritage respectively, believe their looks--specifically their eyes--get in the way of how people see them. Layering their stories with pop culture references to beauty icons and supermodels, filmmaker Ann Shin looks at the pain that lies deep behind the desire for plastic surgery.

  • Sexy Inc. Our Children Under Influence (Youth Version)
    2007|26 min

    Are children being pushed prematurely into adulthood? Sophie Bissonnette’s documentary  Sexy inc. Our Children Under Influence – Youth Version analyzes the hypersexualization of our environment and its noxious effects on young people. Psychologists, teachers and school nurses criticize the unhealthy culture surrounding our children, where marketing and advertising are targeting younger and younger audiences and bombarding them with sexual and sexist images. These stereotypes treat girls of all ages as sexual objects, and exercise a damaging the effect on their identities. Because they see degrading images of sexuality on the Internet, some children confuse sexual relations with pornography. Sexy inc. suggests various ways of countering hypersexualization and the eroticization of childhood and invites us to rally against this  worrying phenomenon.

  • Social Me
    2015|23 min

    This short documentary examines the role of social media in the lives of teenagers. To the younger generation, social media is more than just a communication tool: it’s a way of life, a sphere in which to explore and create their own universes -- often at the expense of face-to-face interaction. As young Nya enters adulthood, she takes a critical look at how social media has impacted and continues to influence the shaping of her identity, experiences and values.

    This film was made as part of the Tremplin program, in collaboration with Radio-Canada.

  • Staying Real - Teens Confront Sexual Stereotypes
    campus 2010 | 24 min

    A documentary geared to 11 to 13-year-olds in which preteens and teens discuss the adverse effects of the sexual stereotypes they're bombarded with. They talk about how hard it is to develop their own personality and make friends when they don’t conform to media and advertising images. Produced in collaboration with the Montreal Women’s Y as a follow-up to Sexy Inc.: Our Children Under Influence, and directed by award-winning filmmaker Sophie Bissonnette, this film is a great way to kick off a lively discussion.