Outdoors girls: Incorporating an ongoing connection with the outdoors into the prevention of negative body image in girls




Bradley, Susan Higgins

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Feminist theory and empirical evidence link the dominant Western thin beauty ideal to the development of negative body image in girls, which can lead to eating disorders and other serious mental health issues. Recent studies show that negative body image prevention programs may offer the best tool to counteract internalization of the beauty ideal. Other scholarship suggests that activities in the outdoors can also positively impact girls' body image. However, most prevention programs so far overlook a connection between the outdoors and girl's positive body image, which may be due to Western society's tendency to imagine the outdoors as white, masculine space that is unsafe for women and girls. Ultimately, I argue for the development of negative body image prevention programs for girls that include outdoors activities and empirical evaluations of these programs. To that end, I offer guidelines for developing an outdoors-focused negative body image prevention program for girls.



Psychology, Social sciences, Women's studies