Body Image: Development of a Course

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Date
2018-01-01
Authors
Lennon, Sharron
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Abstract

Body image is our mental image of our bodies and is affected by our dress. The study of body image has been theoretically justified for inclusion in textiles and clothing subject matter. In what follows a recent fortuitous opportunity to develop an entire undergraduate course on body image is described.

The first two times the course was offered, it was in response to a call for proposals for themed courses and although the themes were different it was not difficult to make the case that body image was relevant to both themes. Slight variations of the body image course have now been offered three times as an elective under a variable topics course number.

In addition to three exams, students completed ten article assignments which consisted of reading mostly research articles and answering questions about the article, author(s), and/or the publication. The Letter to a Younger Self assignment required writing about your body image (now and then), which included advice for the younger self. Students also completed two Body Image Interviews and wrote their evaluation of the interviewee’s body image in a 2-page paper addressing how interview responses compared with research findings. In the final project students content analyzed media messages from the fashion and beauty industries and described a program they would develop for a specific population that promotes healthy body image.

One change moving forward is to have guest speakers from the health center who have treated clients with eating disorders.

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