Body Image in the Media (Ages 12-17)

Body Image in the Media (Ages 12-17)

This playlist introduces educators to films which address the themes of body image, gender, and relationships through the films: Flawed, The Colour of Beauty, Fat Chance, Western Eyes and Shredded. While the films use very different storytelling techniques - one is an animated, personal story; another is a short, journalistic piece; and the third is a traditional feature-length documentary - they will all inspire important discussions around ways of seeing bodies across various media and cultural industries. The complete educator's guide for Flawed provides you with practical suggestions for incorporating hands-on activities in your classroom.

Download the Flawed study guide here.

This playlist aims to introduce students to personal and universal questions about relationships, career choices, safety, gender, race and body politics. Learning outcomes of using the bundle will include:

-exploring representations of gender, race, and body politics in the media
-understandings of healthy decision-making
-exploring conflict resolution
-using positive communication skills
-knowledge of fine arts and media technology
-deconstructing media messages in the media
-integrating broader concepts of perspective, storytelling and artistic expression.

  • Flawed
    2010|12 min

    Flawed is nothing less than a beautiful gift from Andrea Dorfman's vivid imagination, a charming little film about very big ideas. Dorfman has the uncanny ability to transform the intensely personal into the wisely universal. She deftly traces her encounter with a potential romantic partner, questioning her attraction and the uneasy possibility of love. But, ultimately, Flawed is less about whether girl can get along with boy than whether girl can accept herself, imperfections and all.

    This film is both an exquisite tribute to the art of animation and a loving homage to storyboarding, a time-honoured way of rendering scenes while pointing the way to the dramatic arc of the tale.

  • The Colour of Beauty
    2010|17 min

    Renee Thompson is trying to make it as a top fashion model in New York. She's got the looks, the walk and the drive. But she’s a black model in a world where white women represent the standard of beauty. Agencies rarely hire black models. And when they do, they want them to look “like white girls dipped in chocolate.”

    The Colour of Beauty is a shocking short documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry. Is a black model less attractive to designers, casting directors and consumers? What is the colour of beauty?

    This film is part of the Work For All series, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, with the participation of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

  • Shredded

    This short film follows a group of teenage boys eager to emulate the muscle-filled bodies of their media heroes. Revealing the lengths these boys are willing to go to achieve their goal, this film explores the use of supplements and the temptations of steroids. The boys relate their experiences, desires and motivations to the audience, who are left to draw their own conclusions.

    The film is designed to provoke discussion among teenagers about body image and where lines should be drawn between healthy and dangerous behaviour.

  • Fat Chance (Abridged Version)
    1994|46 min

    This documentary follows Rick Zakowich as he faces his lifelong struggles with his weight and body image. Child therapist by day and blues singer by night, Rick's charisma and talent are undeniable, yet he remains fixed within the definition of a narrow label. The film takes on appearance-based oppression and fat-shaming by examining the ways in which society treats people whose bodies don’t necessarily match a narrow, unrealistic ideal of attractiveness. Instead of losing weight, Rick gains valuable insight, transformative new friendships, and a profound sense of self-confidence.

  • Western Eyes
    2000|39 min

    This documentary presents two Canadian women of Asian descent who are contemplating eyelid surgery. Maria and Sharon, of Philippino and Korean heritage respectively, believe their looks--specifically their eyes--get in the way of how people see them. Layering their stories with pop culture references to beauty icons and supermodels, filmmaker Ann Shin looks at the pain that lies deep behind the desire for plastic surgery.