PSHE KS3 / GCSE: Cultural influences on body ideals and body image

Campaigner Stephanie Hart investigates beauty ideals around the world, and the people responsible for promoting them.

We take a trip around the world to look at the vastly different body and beauty ideals for men and women from the tribes of Africa, through the Middle East and South East Asia.

However there are threats to this global diversity - an interview with Dr Phillippa Diedrichs reveals a trend which pushes people from all nationalities towards the impossibly 'perfect' Western body and beauty 'ideal' - driven by the multi-million pound fashion and beauty industry.

No matter what they look like, people around the globe are being manipulated to feel dissatisfied with their bodies, and spend their hard earned cash in the pursuit of these 'ideals'.

What are the potential negative impacts of this trend on our body image and cultural identity?

Should we let this Westernisation influence our unique cultural diversity?

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

Teacher Notes

Students may want to use this clip to create a collage on the diverse ideas around what is beautiful.

Select a number of magazines from a newsagent and ask students to bring in their own.

What are the findings of the students? How do the print media define the notion of beauty and what differences exist between concepts of male and female beauty?

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.