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Using Sex to Sell: Topics to Explore Category
Body Image

Lessons and activities examine issues such as cosmetic surgery, image retouching, and cultural perceptions of the "ideal" body.


When Fat Was “In”
Through examination of an ad from 1891, participants learn that—while body “ideals” change over time—advertisers use the same basic techniques to sell products that they used over a hundred years ago.


“Extreme” Makeovers: Finding Facts About Cosmetic Surgery
Participants research the risk factors, side effects, and costs of cosmetic surgery, and discuss how the entertainment industry makes it all look simple.

Gallery of Us
Using positive images of men and women of all ages, sizes, shapes, and colors, participants make a gallery of images that represent the diversity of real people.

Debate: What is a Healthy Body?
Ads for the diet and fitness industries claim overweight bodies are unhealthy. Is this true, or are advertisers misrepresenting the facts to sell their products? Participants debate this topic.

Anyone Can Look Like That / No One Looks Like That
To increase awareness of retouching as a standard practice for contemporary photographers, participants use image-manipulating software to alter images of themselves.

“Reversing” Body Image Ads
Before and after images in ads show the supposed effects of using a product. Participants experiment by reversing before and after images of existing ads by altering image and text.

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Body Image in Video Games
After examining images of popular gaming characters, participants discuss how body type conveys meaning. Themes include: physical exaggeration as a means to communicate strength and heroism, super-sexualized heroines.


Media Literacy 101 Using Sex to Sell Talking About Abstinence Reducing Risks Reading Media Be the Judge Producing Media
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