A must for parents, teachers and counselors, this book targets preadolescent girls aiming to engage them in educational activites that will empower them to avoid eating disorders. The author examines eating disorders from sociocultural and feminist perspectives showing how disorders are most often caused by overexposure to media messages, an unrealistic cultural fascination with thinness, by continuous anaylsis of our bodies and a disordered cultural view of food. Then Menassa presents a 10-session guide to prevention that engages girls in activities to spur and empower their independent thinking and reasoning. For example, girls become watchdogs of the media and write to companies that present women in a negative light in their advertisements. The girls challenge ingrained beliefs and replace them with healthier ones.
Preadolescence is a time when girls’ minds are malleable and they are willing to challenge established activities, such as media presentations. Once girls hit puberty, many will have already developed disordered eating behaviors; many will have been on several diets; therefore, beginning the work to decode and combat harmful messages before that stage is crucial.