“When was the last time you heard someone say something they love about themselves, out loud?” asks Caroline Noble, a senior at Redwood High School in Larkspur, California.
For her, it’s at least once a week.
Caroline runs a Body Positive club at her school, where students meet at lunch to work towards improving their relationships with their bodies.
“We all come from different backgrounds, and none of us were friends before we joined this club,” she writes. “Even though our starting points were very different, our end points are all similar. We want to lead our lives free of self-judgment, appreciate our bodies for all the incredible opportunities they afford us, and show others the same love we show ourselves.”
Caroline is one of thousands of high schoolers involved in Body Positive groups across the country. The organization trains students and teachers to create programs tailored to the specific needs of their school that address the self-destructive, isolating struggles many young people experience with their body image, eating, and exercise.
Not only do these clubs provide members with a supportive space to further their own journeys towards self-love, but their effects also spread into the broader school population to establish a climate where positive body image is the norm. Many students have engaged their peers in powerful video projects to showcase the diverse types of beauty that make their communities unique.
Leaders at Sir Francis Drake High School and The Branson School, both located in Marin County, California, asked students and teachers to describe their beauty. Their answers are a moving reminder that the shallow definitions of beauty shown to us in popular media fail to capture the stunning variety of human physicality, personality, emotion, and experience.
Caroline Noble is about to graduate high school, and will take a profound confidence with her as she approaches the next phase of her life.
“I'd much rather focus on learning the steps of cellular respiration than worrying about whether I look ‘fat’ in my skinny jeans. Life is too short to be limited by what other people think.”
“I’ve been involved with The Body Positive since middle school, and now that I reach the end of my four years of high school, I am able to look back and see what a truly enormous impact this group has had on my life. Somehow, I’ve managed to escape the sideways glances in the hallways, or the pressure of finding the perfect outfit for school. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d much rather focus on learning the steps of cellular respiration than worrying about whether I look ‘fat’ in my skinny jeans. Life is too short to be limited by what other people think.”
Learn more about The Body Positive's school programs here.
Watch the full beauty project videos here: