Sunday, January 12, 2014

Redefining Self Image

Last year I wrote about a powerful TED talk that is important when discussing our culture's influence on self image. My one caveat is that it may not be developmentally appropriate for all 4th graders. So I put the link in a newsletter and left it up to the parents.

This year a few more powerful resources have been created.
Mashable referenced a series of parody photoshop ads by Anna Hill that are brilliant.

Anna Hill's Website has several Photoshop parodies.

Another important critique came out this December- South Park's season 17 finale, "The Hobbit." In the episode, "Self Image" is redefined as a selfie that has been photoshopped. The 4th grade boys and girls begin to date based on their photoshopped images. When the boys introduce their girlfriends to their friends, they don't introduce the person that is standing right next to them. Instead they introduce the photoshopped selfie.
"The Hobbit" Season 17 Finale

The Onion's AV Club review breaks down the episode nicely:

Once filtered through the prism of that final image (of the episode), a lot more about “The Hobbit” comes into sharper, more sinister focus. Sure, it’s easy to mock those that think photoshopped models look like that in real life, or even on the day of any particular shoot. But it’s something else entirely to see Clyde stroll down the hallways with his new girlfriend, Lisa Berger. Sure, he has his arm around her, but when he introduces everyone to her, he simply shows his classmates the photograph that Wendy designed in order to lift the veil from Butters’ unrealistic eyes. For all intents and purposes, that photo is Lisa Berger from that moment on. The juxtaposition between the flat image on the phone and the three-dimensional, corporeal version is jarring. But the kids soon learn to accept the image as the reality, and the physical entity a poor representation of the “truth” that image represents.

Because of the language, South Park isn't appropriate as a teaching tool for elementary students. But the message is a powerful one, and again could be left up to individual families to explore.
The episode should be available soon on South Park's website.

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