During my Sophomore year at UNCC, I enrolled in a class entitled “Body Image” with Professor Rosie Molinary. Being a Women’s and Gender Studies Minor, this class sounded intriguing. On the first day of class, she told us about her book that we would be using throughout the semester, entitled “Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance.” I had never heard of this book before, and was excited to proceed with the class. This book is about self image and body image, and how to break negative habits that society has instilled in girls of all ages. Deborah L. Tolman, in her book “Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality,” she discusses the importance of girls talking with women, and how women need to allow girls the space to talk about their developing desires and sexuality. While Mrs. Molinary’s book doesn’t directly discuss girls’ sexualities, it is important to start difficult conversations with girls and allow them the space to ask questions and grow. If girls know they are accepted by women, they will have an easier time learning to accept themselves fully. Mrs. Molinary’s book challenges girls to grow and learn about themselves; and delve into what the deep roots of issues are. Whether it be things they have internalized from peers, adults, or the media, “Beautiful You” is a journal in which girls can answer prompts and think through why they feel the way they feel about specific things. This book raises an important issue, that girls are not allowed the freedom to experience different emotions in a constructive, positive way. Tolman writes about the importance adult women play in this issue. This book could be done in a group environment, like the Body Image class, or in the privacy of home between young girls and their mothers or mentors. Classes like the body image class should be offered everywhere, allowing girls, and even boys, to discuss issues of body image and sexuality in a judgement free environment, creating open communication between adults and young adults.
Check out Mrs. Molinary’s website and her book “Beautiful You” Here.