That’s One Screwed Up Idea

We are working on persuasive writing in my classroom right now.  I always start the unit looking at advertisements, both print and television.  We look at this commercial Dove put together a few years ago.

evolution.jpg The Evolution video can also be found on Youtube.

From there we talk about the “ideal” body and what advertisers are trying to sell – the unattainable you.  At the same time we were doing this, People ran a cover story about the work Heidi Montag recently had completed.  That just sounds funny to say completed…I don’t know if she will ever be complete.

heidi.jpg Picture borrowed from, who borrowed if from People magazine. 

After showing my class this picture and talking about her age, they all agree on one thing, the sheer ridiculousness of the work she had done.  Liposuction on her neck and stomach?!  WTH? I should mention that I teach 11-13 year olds and it was very refreshing to hear them all agree with the fact that Heidi should stop and that she will likely never be happy with how she looks if she is willing to have had this much done at the age of 23.  TWENTY-THREE!!

I struck gold this year when it came time to putting together my persuasive unit.  Not only was Heidi Montag on the cover of People, Newsweek put together this great gallery showing the airbrushing of photos.  The picture that got the greatest reaction – the Ralph Lauren model.  When you see it you will understand why.  The one that got the most laughs…Beyonce.  Just what colour is she?  Again, when you see it, you’ll understand, especially since two of the pictures are identical other than the skin tone!


Honestly, take a few minutes to go through the gallery, some of it is shocking at the “work” they have done to pictures.

I have enjoyed going through this process with this group of kids.  And rest assured, I have not been teaching that all ads are evil…we spent time today looking at the Milk ads and the fun way they are going about trying to “sell” milk.  We have also spent time going through the ads from the For A Better Life organization.  If you are in the States you have likely seen them, or if you are watching an American channel the commercials are sometimes on. 

integrity.jpg  I love these ads and it has almost become a game I play with myself while travelling in the U.S. – not only to find the billboards, but the hopes of seeing something new!

When I look at the other ads however, I have to ask myself, “What on earth are we teaching our children when there is so much “work” being done to pictures?”  Just now a student, who may have a 26″-27″ waist just made a comment to me about how fat she is…while eating a donut (of course)!  She probably wears a size 2-4 but she thinks she’s fat.  That’s one screwed up idea!



Categories: Crazy Stuff, Life, School