Girl Guides launch new badge to promote positive body image
The Girl Guides of Canada is introducing a new badge in May designed to promote positive body image, part of an attempt to be more "progressive."
"Guiding has an old-fashioned stigma to it. It's been around for 100 years and our membership has dropped," Rebecca Tye, girl program co-ordinator for the group, said Tuesday.
"We don't usually deal with something so progressive … but we know it's important to our 80,000 members," she added.
Girls aged five to 17 can earn the Love Yourself Challenge badge by completing three tasks that promote self-esteem, healthy eating and a positive body image.
The purple and green badge, which features three stick figures of variously-shaped girls, is being launched May 11.
The program was designed with the help of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, which approached the girls-only organization with the idea last year, said Tye.
There are different activities for each age group, with younger girls earning their badge by completing tasks such as creating a craft called an Awesome Alien.
"They create a funky alien that may have three eye balls or two right hands. It's about celebrating differences," said Tye.
Older girls can complete a project on eating disorders or post their thoughts and art to a "graffiti wall" dedicated to body image.
Tye said the group periodically surveys its membership and found they wanted to "deal with things that are relevant to their lives, and this happens to be one of them."
The group has in recent years tried to revamp its image. In 2006, the Girl Guides of Canada launched a controversial recruitment campaign featuring provocative images of young women.
In one ad, a fictitious pop star named Candi promoted her songs Naughty Girl and Taste Me Again. At the bottom of the ad, a girl guide points her finger in judgment to emphasize the tagline: "Why Girls need Guides."
Myrtle Corkum, chief commissioner for the Girl Guides of Canada, said at the time the group was using the negative ads to demonstrate that the organization offers an alternative to negative social and media messages.