Body Image: Darryl Roberts and America the Beautiful

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for sending in their education links. I’m an educator. It’s the kind of thing I like. I’ll give it about a week, and then I’ll post the various workshops and make a bibliography of the books. Keep ’em coming!


As most of you know, I spent much of last week at a White Privilege conference in Minneapolis. Not white privilege as in Neo-Nazi, but white privilege as in a “we have it and how can we use it to be allies?” type of way. It was a very useful and educational conference, although it started sort of shakily because of a registration mess up which made me feel I was in a non-privilege simulation.

Anyway, one of the many highlights of the conference was the director documentary series. I went to three films in the evenings, and the one that seemed most relevant to me personally was the session with Darryl Roberts.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Darryl Roberts, he’s a film maker out of Chicago. Roberts has received some attention for some indie films, but in recent years he’s become an advocate for women and the messages they receive about body image with his film America the Beautiful.

Roberts’ message in the film is a powerful one, and if we know it, it does us good to hear it over and over again.

It’s probably best to hear Darryl talk about his purpose in person.

The film deals with fashion, make-up, plastic surgery, skin color, all sorts of stuff. It follows a 12-year old (OMG!) super model through a 3-month rise and fall. It discusses eating disorders and examines the way media undermines our self-esteem.

Up next for Roberts? America the Beautiful: Health for Sale, which explores body mass index and the health industry’s treatment of obesity. I’ll be there. As everyone knows, this is an issue near and dear to my heart.

Also, thanks to Roberts, I’ve found the Association for Size Diversity and Health, which looks like an interesting group to explore. Certainly, the medical section has some interesting ideas.

At any rate, do check out America the Beautiful, which is quite available for purchase and rental. It was a great documentary.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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