Monday, 16 May 2011
Body Gossip and Gok Wan: Storming Parliament!
Last week, Gok Wan stormed Parliament petitioning for one hour of body confidence lessons per year to be mandatory for all secondary school students.
Ruth and myself were lucky enough to be part of the group that accompanied Gok - We marched behind him into the inner bowels of the Parliament building, where we were faced with a group of the country's leading MPs and Gok delivered a, frankly, brilliant speech.
I'm not allowed to reveal any more of the particulars of that day, sadly, since highlights will be aired as part of Gok's forthcoming documentary, due out this summer. I will however say this: If you are going to march to Parliament, on camera, wear sensible shoes! My ridiculous (but fabulous) burnt orange patent platforms threatened to topple me into the Land of Perpetual Embarrassment and Constant Cringing on several occasions throughout the day.
What, I hear you screech, on Earth is the point of this blog if not to dish the dirt on Gok (or 'Lovely Gok' as he shall henceforth be known by everyone at Body Gossip) et al? Well, it's to tell you why the campaign is so crucial and why Body Gossip wholeheartedly supports it.
Body Confidence might not be considered as crucial to the education of our young people as English and Maths by some. During my the past 3 years, as I have travelled the country speaking with and teaching students, I am confident in my opinion that this view is not only completely wrong, but a downright dangerous misconception.
The misery which accompanies a lack of self esteem can permeate every area of a young person's life, rendering them incapable of achieving their potential, or from enjoying their existence. In today's aesthetic obsessed society, increasingly teenagers are sacrificing their potential at the alter of superficiality. They might be labouring under the illusion that thinness, buff-ness or conforming to a set beauty paradigm is the shortcut to popularity, wealth and success. Or they might not even be able to formulate the thought that precisely. A lot of teenagers don't know why they hate their bodies and they don't know why hating their bodies makes them hate themselves.
One hour a year is not enough time to solve every student's body image issues, but it will at least introduce the issue and start them thinking, perhaps talking and even seeking any help they might need.
Body Gossip's 'Gossip School' has helped hundreds of teenagers throughout the UK and this year we hoping to be invited to even more schools and colleges to tackle this thorny subject. Look out for us on 'Gok's Teens' and lobby your local MP to recognize how crucial something which has such a profound effect on the mental health of the country's young people really is.
For more information on Gossip School go to www.bodygossip.org/confidence.