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Educators urged to boost teen girls' self-image

Sexualised and superficial media images of girls and women can damage the self-image of adolescents, according to two authors in the US.

Marilyn Kielbasa and Janet Claussen, editors and authors at St Mary's Press in Minnesota, specialise in books nurturing spirituality among girls and young women. They were speaking last week at a presentation for Catholic educators.

As examples of harmful media images, they cited photos of waif-like fashion models, ads featuring provocatively posed shots of teens, and even Disney movies with subtle sexual messages.

The two led a workshop titled Listening to Their Voices: The Spirituality of Adolescent Girls, during the US National Catholic Educational Association's annual convention in Milwaukee. Kielbasa is also co-director of the Voices Project, a St. Mary's Press initiative begun in 1998 that helps girls ages 11-19 develop personally and spiritually.