PSHE KS3 / GCSE: Changes in body ideals and trends throughout time

A whirlwind tour of our obsession with appearance over the past few hundred years.

Four female comedians take us through the various changes in body and beauty ideals for men and women throughout time to demonstrate that, what is 'in' in terms of the way we look is never 'in' for long.

The fleeting state of body and beauty ideals, and the extreme and harmful nature of some of the trends are highlighted through the over-the-top style of this film.

This prompts young people to question whether it is worth endangering their physical and psychological health in order to try to live up to the latest body fashions.

This clip is from the series Your Body, Your Image.

Teacher Notes

Prior to watching this clip, pupils could be asked to list all the things that they believe are attractive about males and females.

Each student's list can then be compared with others.

The lists could be referred to again after watching the clip.

The clip will help pupils to understand that some past trends have been both ridiculous and dangerous.

Ask them, after watching, to revisit their own lists and explore which of the 'attractive' items on their lists could be seen as ridiculous or dangerous and explain how, for example, with breast enhancement, liposuction, or tooth whitening.

Gather feedback from the whole class.

The exercise could be finished by asking pupils to create an advice leaflet on one of the areas they have explored, fully explaining the dangers to school age pupils.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is relevant for teaching Modern Studies and PSHE at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 and National 4 and 5.