In a bid to increase their self-esteem, British schoolchildren as young as 11 will be shown airbrushed images of a scantily-clad Britney Spears.
The lesson plan is part of the British Government's campaign against the Size Zero culture, and will include pictures of Spears before and after retouching to give pupils a realistic idea of body image.
AdvertisementChildren aged 10 and 11 will be warned that almost all photos shown in adverts have been manipulated and that many show "a degree of perfection which is unattainable in society".
They will be told that reading magazines lowers their self-esteem, putting their physical and mental health at risk, and asked to consider if "you need to be beautiful in order to be a good or loveable person".
"Young people are being set an impossible standard by the images they are confronted with on a daily basis from the media and advertising and there is evidence to suggest this has a negative impact on self esteem," the Telegraph quoted Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, as saying.
"I want children to recognise from an early age that their value is worth so much more than just their physical appearance," she added.
The teaching pack, which can be downloaded by school staff from Friday, was developed by a not-for-profit organisation called Media Smart.
It consists of 14 PowerPoint slides showing well-known magazine adverts and posters, together with a set of notes for teachers to explain "the role of media and advertising in influencing young people's perceptions of body image".
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