Artist: Roisin Anderson
Body Image Workshops
Oxford Against Cutting offers body image workshops to address the increasing social pressures put on girls to look a certain way and, in some cases, pay for facial fillers or other “tweakments” or alter their genitalia. Dr Brenda Kelly, our Patron, has observed that her colleagues at the John Radcliffe Hospital have seen a sharp rise in young girls requesting cosmetic genital surgery. With the influence of pornography and social media, ideas around “normal” bodies have changed significantly in recent years and increasing numbers of girls are seeking surgery to achieve a “perfect” appearance.
The Ideal Beauty Standard:
This workshop explores consumer culture and the influence this has on body image and mental health in our society. The workshop uses examples to show how the beauty industry profits from women’s insecurities and shows why beauty standards will always be ‘unrealistic’. The workshop will help students to understand how social media and advertising make us more insecure, supporting students to instead feel empowered to resist the pressure to conform to beauty standards. Finally, the workshop will allow students to feel confident talking to a friend or trusted adult about concerns, and getting help.
Ideally, the first in this series of 3. Any age group from Year 7.
Pornography and Cosmetic Body Alterations:
This workshop is designed to help students better understand the pornography industry and it’s influence on body image and sexual relationships. The workshop will help students to think more critically about the industry and resist the influence that it could have on their own lives and relationships. The workshop also explores cosmetic body alterations, looking at why there has been a rise in alterations (especially in young people), the laws around them and arguments for and against having them. The workshops aims to highlight the harms cosmetic body alterations can cause and to empower students to feel confident in their bodies as they are. Finally, the workshop will allow students to feel confident talking to a friend or trusted adult about concerns, and getting help.
Preferably Year 9 or older
The Female Genitalia:
This workshop will cover the names and functions of the female genitalia and why it’s important to learn about them. The workshop will look at some common misconceptions around things like virginity, discharge and female pleasure. Students will be taught about two types of alterations to the female genitalia: female genital mutilation and female cosmetic genital surgery. The workshop will support students to look at both of these in the context of gender equality and the reasons, harms and the UK laws around each of them. Finally, the workshop will allow students to feel confident talking to a friend or trusted adult about concerns, and getting help.
Sixth Form (i.e. years 12 and 13) / college age
Testimonials from Abingdon and Witney College where 8 workshops have been delivered:
“The lesson made me feel more confident talking about these issues”
“The lesson taught me to feel more comfortable with my body”
“I learnt about FGM, what it is, where it happens, why it happens”
“I learnt that you should be proud of your body and it does not matter what others think”
Read the evaluation of our body image project here, from 2019
You can also read our latest Body Image report, June 2021