A Lesson Plan from Life Planning Education: A Youth Development Program
Purpose: To increase each teen's awareness of his/her physical self and of media
influences on her/his self-image and behavior
Materials: Popular magazines for clipping; scissors and glue; newsprint [two sheets for
each group of four or five teens] and markers; masking tape
Time: 40 to 50 minutes
Planning Notes: Make sure you have diverse magazines offering pictures of men and
women of varied race/ethnicity but especially of those to which the teens in the group
1. Point out that many people do not feel proud and confident about how they look.
Some people don't feel good about their body.
2. Form same-sex groups of four to five youth in each group. Give each group two
sheets of newsprint and a marker.
3. Give instructions for the activity:
• You will have 20 minutes to complete this activity.
• Make a list on one piece of newsprint of the parts of the body that people of your
gender often feel dissatisfied with. Label your list Men often do not like… or
Women often do not like…
• Using two or three magazines, find pictures of members of your sex that you
think are attractive. Make a collage of these pictures or your own drawings on the
other piece of newsprint. Add words or phrases that describe an attractive member
of your own sex.
• When you have finished the collage, tape both the list and the collage side by side
on one of the walls.
4. Allow about 20 minutes for the groups to work, then request everyone's attention.
Ask teens to walk around the room. read the lists, and look at the collages.
5. Ask everyone to take a seat. Summarize what you see on the lists and ask
thoughtful questions about what the lists and collages. For example, if several
male lists include height, you might say and ask the following: I notice that
several groups of young men listed height as one thing men often do not like
about their bodies. I see lots of tall men in the collages. What does that say about
men who are short or of medium height? Can they still be attractive? Why do you
think that only tall men are attractive?
6. Conclude the activity with the Discussion Points.
1. Do you think that women or men generally more satisfied with their bodies?
2. Where do we get our ideas about what is attractive and what is not?
3. Did you find pictures that coincided with your ideas about what is attractive? If
not, what were you looking for that you couldn't find?
4. Are you affected by other people's opinions about your body? How do you know
what their opinions are?
5. Do media images influence how attractive or appealing we feel? Does the
behavior of people toward we are attracted influence how we feel? [If youth
respond that the attitudes and behaviors of people of the opposite sex influence
how they feel, be sure to point out that not everyone is romantically interested in
someone of the opposite sex.]
6. Can we change some parts of our bodies? Which ones and how? [Circle those
parts on some of the lists.] Have we really changed when we change these parts of
our bodies? Are we better people?
7. What parts of us can we not change? Does our inability to change some parts of
our bodies mean we are unattractive? Why not?
8. What is it about us that is attractive and that does not rest on our appearance? [If
youth do not suggest these things, be sure to bring them up: humor, intelligence,
friendliness, kindness, tact, consideration, patience, determination, compassion.
How about our ability to love and be loved, to be a good parent, student,
employee, or employer, friend, neighbor?]
9. What things can teens do to feel better about their bodies? [Answers should
include supporting each other, paying less attention to media images, talking to a
Adapted from Life Planning Education, a comprehensive sex education curriculum.
Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, in press.