Body pressure at school

A middle school in the state of Mississippi in the USA has been severely beaten by the students’ parents, after the school offered female students clothes that were to “help them not to worry about their own body image”.

It said that the girls could get clothes from school that, for example, are designed to hold in the stomach.

The letter the young students aged 10 to 14 brought home this week has garnered strong reactions.

Several of the parents have since posted on social media, where they clearly state what they think about the school’s “advice”.

Ashley Heun’s post went viral on Twitter and Facebook and has sparked outrage over body pressure far beyond Southaven Middle School, where the letter was handed out.

Heun is the mother of 13-year-old Caroline, who came home with the letter from school earlier this week.

– I had no idea that the post would go viral. I posted it on social media with the intention of gathering the other parents to put an end to the message that was conveyed. That every girl (or boy) is “less valuable” because of her body size, Heun told Dagbladet on Thursday.

Heun says that his daughter Caroline said that the letter was “stupid” and that she did not understand the purpose.

– Incredibly pissed

– This was sent home with my daughter who is in 8th grade. I’m incredibly pissed, Ashley Heun wrote on Facebook, posting the picture of the letter.

CLEAR MESSAGE: This is how the letter the parents received from their children, when they came home from school in the USA earlier this week. Photo: Private
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The letter stated that “girls are more likely than boys to have a negative body image due to unrealistic social and cultural beauty ideals, which can result in higher cases of depression and low self-esteem among schoolgirls”.

To counteract the “trend” the school claimed was going on, they sent the letter home with the children where their parents had the opportunity to request “shapewear, bras and other relevant health products” for their daughters.

Shapewear is, for example, underwear that can be pulled over the navel, with a function that pulls the abdomen in.

SHAPEWEAR: Shapewear is underwear designed to change the shape of the user's body, usually to flatten the abdomen and make them look slimmer.  Photo: Shutterstock / NTB

SHAPEWEAR: Shapewear is underwear designed to change the shape of the user’s body, usually to flatten the abdomen and make them look slimmer. Photo: Shutterstock / NTB
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– No child should feel pressured

The fact that the school offered children and young teenage girls such clothes to increase their self-confidence did not go down well with the parents.

Heun hopes that this will start conversations between parents and children, teachers, counselors and administration.

– No child should feel pressured to look a certain way, a way that may be impossible to achieve, Heun tells Dagbladet.

At the same time, Heun says that it is not the world’s easiest task to raise children today, as it is so easy for children to get access to things they should not see, as on social media, Heun believes.

– Social media is filled with pictures of people, who have added filters, photo-edited photos. A lot is not real. I want my children to know that they are absolutely perfect just the way they are, says Heun.

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– Missed completely

Heun tells Dagbladet that she has been in a meeting with the principal at Southaven Middle School who has apologized to the parents, regarding the inappropriate letter.

– He said that the school had the best intention when they came up with the idea of ​​sending out the offer, and I believe that. They just missed completely.

– They made a mistake and they have understood that. I want everyone to know that the messages we send our children can be harmful, whether we mean it in one way or another, says Heun.

After all the commotion at Southaven Middle School, a spokeswoman for the school district Lauren Margeson has said CNN that they understand that such a letter created concerns among the parents at the secondary school.

Although it is the daughter’s school that is in focus because of the letter, Heun says that the parents’ responsibility to take care of what they say in front of their children is also extremely important.

– Saying derogatory comments about ourselves in front of them can be internalized and they may end up using them about themselves. It is difficult. I fight against it all the time with my own negative body problems, Heun concludes.

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