There are a lot of different types of body image activities, including activities meant to help people realize how they view other people because of body image, common misconceptions about body image, and how other people view body image. Activities meant to help participants realize how they view other people are important because they may not realize how much body image affects their perception. In addition, debunking common misconceptions can help participants recognize that some standards of beauty are difficult to achieve. Lastly, body image activities that focus on how other cultures and past societies viewed their bodies can help people realize that modern standards of beauty are not hard rules.
One of the most popular body image activities shows participants images of people. The participants are asked to write down their first impressions of these people, concentrating on the first words that come to mind. When all the images have been shown and everyone is finished writing their impressions, they hand the papers to a teacher or director. The director goes through the images again and reads what people have written about that person. Most people notice that the person was obese or thin first rather than how happy or sad the person was, and this is pointed out.
Other common body image activities involve learning about misconceptions of the body. For example, a teacher might instruct students to make a list of things they know about obesity. After this, the student is asked to research everything on the list to find out what is fact and what is simply misconception. This activity helps young people do away with harmful misconceptions like thinking all obese people are obese because of laziness or that losing weight is as simple as exercising 30 minutes a day. The goal of this activity is to educate students about the varied causes of obesity.
Another activity instructs participants to think about the differing standards of beauty around the world. The participants might also be asked how they think body image has changed over time. Before the end of the activity, the participants are asked why body image differs from country to country and what causes body image to change over time. Another commonly asked question is what the participants think beauty standards will be in the next decade or century. This activity can help people realize that there is no correct body, only varying degrees of health.