Don’t Say, “What’s Wrong With Me,” Say, “What’s Wrong
With This Ad?”
Today’s youth are inundated with advertisements. It is estimated that
young girls see 250,000 advertisements directed at their physical
appearance every year. Many of these advertisements contain mixed
messages. On one hand, they are exposed to a large number of
advertisements for junk and fast food. On the other hand, many ads
sell the idea of thinness as beauty. According to the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, the average U.S. woman is 5' 3.7 tall
and weighs 152 pounds. The average size of a model is 5’10’’ and 110
pounds. It is little wonder that almost two-thirds of girls describe
themselves as being unhappy with their bodies. In this TeachersCount
lesson, students will examine the role that media and advertising plays
in the development of teens’ body image. They will analyze
advertisements and create a media message on body acceptance.
They will also create a poster or informational brochure to promote
healthy body image. The overall goal of the lesson plan is to enhance
students’ literacy development by providing engaging learning
materials designed to promote creativity and critical thinking skills.
Language Arts, English, Media Literacy
Students will do the following:
learn how media influences body perception.
• create a media message on body acceptance.
• examine their own feelings about their bodies.
Activity One: Media's Effect on Body Image
The purpose of this activity is to develop an understanding of how the
media can impact people’s body image.
1. Share the following facts with your students:
• In a survey of girls 9 and 10 years old, 40% have tried to lose
weight, according to an ongoing study funded by the National
Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (USA Today, 1996).
• A 1996 study found that the amount of time an adolescent
watches soaps, movi