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School Faces Backlash After Offering Girls Shapewear To Address ‘Body Image’ Concerns

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on :
School Faces Backlash After Offering Girls Shapewear To Address ‘Body Image’ Concerns@kimkardashian/Instagram/Google Maps

A Mississippi middle school has come under fire for addressing ‘body image’ concerns by offering shapewear to girls. 

On Tuesday, January 11, Southaven Middle School sent its girls home with a letter for their parents to sign titled, ‘Why Do Girls Suffer from Body Image?’

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Ashley Heun, who has an 11-year-old daughter at the school, has since branded the school as being ‘tone deaf’ for suggesting that shapewear was the way to solve girl’s issues around their body image.

Body Shapewear Offered To Girls - Southaven Middle School/ FacebookSouthaven Middle School/ Facebook

Alongside explaining the issues with body image, and how ‘female body image is a product of personal, social and cultural experiences, and often emerges as a desire to adhere to an ‘ideal’ body shape’, the letter highlighted an ‘opportunity’ it was giving to parents and their daughters to try to combat such pressures, TODAY reports.

It stated: 

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We, the counselors of Southaven Middle School, would like to have an opportunity to offer some healthy literature to your daughter on maintaining a positive body image. We are also providing girls with shapewear, bras, and other health products if applicable.

The letter then requested the signature of a parent, before asking for details of what size their child was on a scale of, ‘Small, Middle, Large, X-Large, XX-Large,’ and ‘XXX-Large’ for both shapewear for the ‘Top’ and ‘Bottom’.

Parents were also given the option to say no to the ‘opportunity’ for their child to receive such shapewear.

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Heun noted how she ‘decided words and social media [was] a good tool […] to rally the troops to change this and to really let the school know how exactly tone-deaf it was’.

She tweeted: 

This is what was sent home to my 8th grade daughter at Southaven Middle School. All girls were sent home with this letter. I’m appalled at the fact that they are trying to fix ‘negative body image’ by sending home SHAPEWEAR!

While Heun noted that she believed the school to have had ‘really good intentions’, she resolved that the letter was ‘kind of ill-conceived’.

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Moreover, she expressed how such issues around body image affect everyone, and not just girls.

Southaven Middle School (Southaven Middle School/Facebook)Southaven Middle School/ Facebook
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Heun’s tweet reportedly caught the eye of Julia Parzyck, who is an advocate for body positivity and an eating disorder recovery coach. Parzyck is noted as having plans to reach out to the principal of the middle school to help put ‘better information out there for all children’.

Despite having been left feeling ‘really angry’, the mother reflected that she now feels stronger in being able to ‘advocate for any girl who feels ‘less than’ because of her body size’.

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Lauren Margeson, assistant to the DeSoto County Schools’ superintendent, stated that the district had been ‘made aware of the parental permission form sent to parents’ by the school.

She concluded, ‘District officials understand how this type of information causes serious concern from parents.’

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this article and would like to speak with someone in confidence, call the BEAT Eating Disorders helpline on 0808 801 0677. Helplines are open 365 days a year from 9am–8pm during the week, and 4pm–8pm on weekends and bank holidays. Alternatively, you can try the one-to-one webchat

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Topics: News, Body Image, body positivity, mississippi, School

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