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Body image problem an issue for the whole Church

by Hannah Tooley

The push for churches to do more comes as the Girlguiding Girls' Attitudes Survey reveals young girls aged seven to eleven said the single most important thing that needs to change to improve their lives is for women to no longer be judged on how they look.

Dr Claire Rush, from the Girls Brigade, told Premier's News Hour that the Church has a duty to help change attitudes.

She said: "This is so important. This is not a girls or women's issue, when half the church is limited and losing confidence everyone is affected."

The report: 

35% of seven to ten year olds say women are judged more on their appearance than their ability
36% of seven to ten year olds say people make them think that the most important thing about them is how they look
10% of seven to ten year olds said people say 'mean things about their bodies' most of the time or often

She went on: "We live in a culture which screams and whispers to girls 'you are not enough'.

"You just need to look at the media and what is this toxic message they're communicating to girls - their worth and value is dependent on how they conform to a very narrow ideal of beauty."

The report found over a third of girls say people make them think that the most important thing about them is how they look and ten per cent reported that people say 'mean things about their bodies' most of the time or often.

Dr Rush told Premier wider society needs to change the way it speaks about women and bodies and places value on appearance.

She said: "It is not enough to simply aim to empower girls with body confidence, we need to be intentional to enable them to understand they are God's image-bearers and with that comes our value and worth."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Dr Claire Rush here:

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