Body image, beauty and bullying. These three themes have been passionately presented by dozens of students participating in TED-Ed Clubs around the globe. When these students were asked to present an idea they felt most passionate about, many club members boldly chose to talk about how to combat negative body image, distorted images of beauty and the bullying that comes with these challenges.
Watch — but more importantly, listen — to these three inspiring perspectives on body image, beauty and bullying from teenagers around the globe.
Julia Takata from Panahou’s TED-Ed Club in Honolulu, Hawaii, shares her own struggles with understanding body image. “[When] I was younger, I was very susceptible to what other people had to say about me. [I kept wondering] how I could change myself…[but] what I didn’t realize was I was letting someone who barely knew me tell me who I was.” What shifted her thinking? The realization that “during this [internal] battle, your body is really taking a beating. All of this to achieve what society portrays as being beautiful. Being skinny… But you don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful. So what exactly does beautiful mean? To be beautiful [is] to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
Donara Davtyan, a high school student from Tumo TED-Ed Club in Armenia, explores the realistic dangers of what happens when the pressure of body image and beauty impact teenagers around the world. She jokes about her own experience: “My classmates tell me that I have a big nose, but you know what, my big nose isn’t their problem. And it doesn’t give me any problem to come here and give my presentation! …Why should people risk their health because of others’ opinions? Donara encourages her peers and society that “It’s time to understand that we shouldn’t change our appearance, but our thinking and behavior to not be bullied. And as Bryant McGill has said, ‘The worst bullies you will ever encounter in your life are your own thoughts.’”
In his presentation on the varying definitions of beauty, high school student Ryan Ng from the Han Chiang High School’s TED-Ed Club in Malaysia asks a simple and honest question about beauty: From plastic surgery to constant self-evaluation, “Why put so much importance and value on the way we look?” He pushes the question of how beauty is defined, pointedly stating that “beauty is one of the most overused, misunderstood, poorly defined word[s] in the English language. [So] if no one can define beauty, then how can someone or something be ugly?”
These three inspirational TED-Ed Club members represent a fraction of the more than 10,000 students now sharing and presenting their ideas in TED-Ed Clubs around the world.
Interested in starting a TED-Ed Club at your school? Sign up here.