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Media’s Impact on Societal Expectations of Beauty

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Beauty Is Skin Deep, is a lesson plan developed by SOGI Education (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Education) and based on content from the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in the United States, designed to teach youth in grades 6 and 7 about the impact that media has on societal views of beauty and individual identity, including sexual orientation, gender, and values. The lesson starts with students reflecting on experiences of being made fun of due to appearance, and their effects on self-esteem. In small groups, students then consider how different forms of media (television, magazines, radio, etc.) send out messages about beauty that creates expectations on how to look and act, and what happens if someone does not fit the ideal. The lesson plan also touches on the Turn Beauty Inside Out Day, where people submit essays about females that have had a positive impact on society, and are “beautiful inside out”. Teachers can give students an assignment to write their own essays for class, or have a discussion about previous essays from the campaign. Teachers are provided all materials for the lesson, assessment criteria, and possible extension ideas.