Body Image: The Quest for Perfection
Available as: VHS and DVD
Catalog #: 0074
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The statistics dealing with women, self-esteem, and body image paint a bleak picture: 80% of fourth-grade girls are on a diet at any given moment, and 20% of young American women have an eating disorder. Experts agree that dialogue and openness are two keys to solving a complicated social and psychological problem.
This candid and thought-provoking video illustrates how such methods might work. In it, seven diverse college-age women share their feelings about their bodies during a three-day retreat. They explore some of the complex sources of their feelings and examine images of women's bodies in mass media. The discussions are at times humorous and at times powerfully moving, and include often-dramatic interactions between the seven women as they challenge one another's perceptions and stereotypes.
The group is led by Dr. Michelle Wolf, Professor of Communications at San Francisco State Univ. and a noted researcher on body-image issues. She encourages the participants to articulate their frequently strong feelings about their bodies and guides them toward understanding those feelings and developing self-esteem and body acceptance. In the final segment of the video, the women explore possible solutions for themselves, for other women, parents, and authority figures such as teachers.
"Body Image: The Quest for Perfection" is sure to arouse and hold the interest of college students, who will empathize with the young women who are featured. The video will motivate lively discussion of vital issues in classes in psychology, women's studies, sociology, media studies, diversity, and counseling. It was produced by Kelly Briley and is enhanced by an excellent study guide.
Please note: The captioned version of this film is only available on VHS. The DVD is not captioned.
"Everyone needs to see this documentary! It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry. It reminded me that the relentless search for the perfect body affects so many different kinds of women, women of all ages, ethnicities, and body types. It semed I could relate to all these women in one way or another." -- Cathy Glenn, Prof. of Speech communication, San Francisco State Univ.
"This documentary takes a powerful look at how young women are made to feel bad about their bodies from an early age. It is an important video for educators and health professionals. In graphic terms it holds up to the light their unfeeling, unknowing, thoughtless comments to girls and young women that can leave lasting scars. It is an eye-opener!" -- Dave Barney, Prof. of Mass Communications, De Anza College
"Thank you beyond thank you for the film! It was so vital, important, deep, profound -- both myself and my friends were so affected. Two of us, inspired by the film, want to get together with a few other women and just have 'body discussions' -- just to bring this stuff out into the open altogether." -- Student, San Francisco State Univ.
"After my friend and I saw the video, we talked for hours about how we felt about our bodies. For once, we both felt completely free and comfortable talking about our bodies with each other. I went home feeling empowered because I knew that I was not alone in my insanity." -- Student, San Francisco State Univ.
- National Council of Family Relations Award
- Western Psychological Assn. honoree
- National Media Education Conference honoree
"Body Image" Web Site
The companion web site for this video.
Adbusters Media Foundation
A media literacy web site and magazine.
The Just Think Foundation
Provides young people with tools for critical thinking.
Focuses on the effect that mass media have on the well being of women and girls.
A comprehensive web site providing information and resources on eating disorders.