Ethos Education

The Princess Diaries: Pressure to Look

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Assembly Objective: 

  • Why do we feel under pressure to conform to a popular image or style? In this assembly, pupils will consider the Bible’s teaching about not worrying how we look, or what others think of us.

Film: 

  • The Princess Diaries (Disney 2001) certificate U. Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Individual Liberty affirms each person’s right to self-determination, but the values of Democracy, Respect and Tolerance call us to live as part of a community. This assembly encourages pupils to make their own choices about their own bodies, instead of conforming to the pressures from around them.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Silly Fashion Show (discussion/activity)

  • Bring a selection of ridiculous costumes and hats to the assembly and invite some volunteers to come to the front and model them. Play some music (the sillier the better) and ask the models to walk up and down at the front, stopping every now and again to strike a pose. Vote on the silliest looking person.
  • Discuss with the group whether they think looking good is about having the latest fashion or striking the best pose. Lead the discussion into a more serious discussion about whether or not the group feels under pressure to look good.

Self-Portrait (discussion/activity)

  • In advance of the assembly, take some photos of teachers and other adults in the school community looking as though they are having a particularly ‘bad hair day’. Show these photos to the children then tell them that you are going to take two photos of the whole school. In the first, they must try to look their most beautiful and handsome, and in the second, they must try to look really ugly. Compare the pictures and talk about the fact while their poses may be different, they are essentially the same people. Trying to be beautiful or ugly is silly, as we are who we are.
  • With an older group, or in circle time, you could show the Dove ‘real beauty sketches’ video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk) then talk about why people view themselves as ugly.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from The Princess Diaries (Disney 2001) certificate U.
    • Start time: 04:43 (blackboard reading ‘Debate Today’ chapter two)
    • End time: 06:24 (‘She’s going to hurl. Cover the tuba!’)
    • Clip length: 1 minute 41 seconds
  • If you can’t show the clip, read this description instead:
    • Mia Thermopoulis and her friend, Lily, are not in the cool crowd at school. At a school debate, Mia has to explain why she thinks school uniform is a good idea. Before she stands up to speak, her confident, good-looking class-mate, Josh wins everyone over. Mia tries to speak but finds herself struck dumb and the other pupils laugh at her. One of them says, ‘What a frizzball. Look at her hair.’ Mia is so overcome by nerves that she runs from the room to be sick.

TALK

Download the Pressure to Look Assembly PowerPoint for use with this talk.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Who thinks they’re looking pretty cool this morning? Anyone feeling good about their choice of clothes and the way their hair is looking? Yes, this is definitely a good-looking collection of people.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Everyone likes to look their best. People spend lots of time in front of the mirror making sure their face looks just right and they’re not having a bad hair day. They choose clothes that suit them and hope that when they go outside they look beautiful or handsome.
    • It’s good to look good, but it’s not good to worry about what other people think of you. In fact, worrying about how you look can cause you lots of stress. Let’s watch a short clip from The Princess Diaries to see what happens when people make us stressed about how we look. Mia Thermopolis is an ordinary girl at school. Today she is taking part in a debate about whether pupils should be allowed not to wear school uniform on Fridays. Unfortunately, Mia gets very nervous when she has to speak in public, and she’s not the coolest person in the school.
    • Play the clip from The Princess Diaries (Disney 2001) certificate U.
      • Start time: 04:43 (blackboard reading ‘Debate Today’ chapter two)
      • End time: 06:24 (‘She’s going to hurl. Cover the tuba!’)
      • Clip length: 1 minute 41 seconds
    • If you can’t show the clip, read this description instead:
      • Mia Thermopoulis and her friend, Lily, are not in the cool crowd at school. At a school debate, Mia has to explain why she thinks school uniform is a good idea. Before she stands up to speak, her confident, good-looking class-mate, Josh wins everyone over. Mia tries to speak but finds herself struck dumb and the other pupils laugh at her. One of them says, ‘What a frizzball. Look at her hair.’ Mia is so overcome by nerves that she runs from the room to be sick.
    • Poor Mia. Can you imagine being so nervous that you feel sick? And then can you imagine feeling like that while other people make nasty comments about you? It would be horrible. No wonder she ran out of the room.
    • People can be very cruel about how other people look. Did you hear what the girls said about Mia? ‘What a frizzball. Look at her hair.’ Mia hadn’t spent a lot of time in front of the mirror, but she looked fine. She was clean and tidy. Her school uniform was neat and her shoes were sensible, but because she didn’t look as good as the other girls in the class, they made fun of her.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • I’m sure nobody in this school would ever make fun of someone else’s looks, but laughing at how a person looks is bullying. It can make a person feel worthless and unhappy about how they look. By teasing other people we can put them under pressure to change how they look.
    • Pressure comes from other places too. When we look at TV, films and magazines, we see photos of thin, beautiful people, and we imagine that we are fat and ugly. There was a survey done in 2007 that said half of girls aged eight to twelve want to look like the women they see on TV and in magazines and six out of ten people think they’d be happier if they were thinner. And it’s not just a problem for girls. Boys are under pressure too, to look strong and handsome.
    • All this pressure leads to people feeling very unhappy about how they look. It leads to people wanting to change their bodies by dieting or having plastic surgery, and it can make some people so miserable that they stop taking part in activities they love doing, like sports, because they feel embarrassed about how they look.
    • I wonder what God thinks about us worrying about how we look. The Bible says that God made us as special, unique individuals and that he knows everything about us. He knows the number of hairs on our heads! He wants us to be healthy and live full lives, and I’m sure he doesn’t want us to worry about how we look. That means that we should eat healthily and get exercise, and it means that we probably want to look our best so we are confident and happy.  But it certainly means that we shouldn’t make fun of how other people look, and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to the celebrity photos we see in the media.
    • Let’s take a look at a psalm, or poem, written a long time ago. In the psalm, the writer is talking about how he started worrying about what other people thought about him, and nearly forgot how much God loved him.
  • [PowerPoint slides 4-5]
    • Read Psalm 73:1-10. (The Message version – printed below – is a helpful translation of the psalm in this context).
    • No doubt about it! God is good – good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way, looking up to the people at the top, envying the wicked who have it made, who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world. Pretentious with arrogance, they wear the latest fashions in violence, pampered and overfed, decked out in silk bows of silliness. They jeer, using words to kill; they bully their way with words. They’re full of hot air, loudmouths disturbing the peace. People actually listen to them—can you believe it? Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • The poem reminds us that God is good to us. He loves us. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to how other people look, and we should never bully someone else for how they look. People who do that are full of hot air, loudmouths disturbing the air, and the people who pay attention to them are like thirsty puppies who lap up their words. Don’t be like a thirsty puppy, lapping up silly words!
    • Reflection
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Play some quiet music as you display the slide and read the following slowly:
    • I wonder if there’s anything we need to change about ourselves. Maybe we want to choose to eat more healthily or do more exercise. Rather than changing how we look, maybe we need to change how we treat others and choose never to be a bully. Maybe we need to stop listening to silly words telling us that we don’t look right. Maybe we need to remember that we are beautiful and handsome.
    • Prayer
    • Father God, thank you that you know us so well that you even know how many hairs are on our heads. Thanks that you know all about the pressures we face. Help us not to worry about how we look. We’re sorry for when we’ve laughed at other people because of how they look. Amen.

Headings and Bullets

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Who looks cool?
    • Definitely a good-looking collection of people.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Everyone likes to look their best.
      • People spend time in front of the mirror making sure face, hair, clothes look right.
      • Nobody wants to have a bad hair day.
    • Worrying about how you look.
      • It’s good to look good, but it’s not good to worry about what other people think of you.
      • Can cause you lots of stress.
    • Introduce the clip from The Princess Diaries.
      • Start time: 04:43 (blackboard reading ‘Debate Today’ chapter two)
      • End time: 06:24 (‘She’s going to hurl. Cover the tuba!’)
      • Clip length: 1 minute 41 seconds
    • Mia’s experience
      • Can you imagine being so nervous that you feel sick?
      • And then can you imagine feeling like that while other people make nasty comments about you?
      • People can be very cruel about how other people look.
      • ‘What a frizzball. Look at her hair’.
      • Mia was clean and tidy, her school uniform was neat and her shoes were sensible.
      • Because she didn’t look as good as the other girls in the class, they made fun of her.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Laughing at how someone looks is bullying.
      • It can make a person feel worthless and unhappy about how they look.
      • By teasing other people we can put them under pressure to change how they look.
      • Pressure comes from other places too – TV, films and magazines.
      • Photos of thin, beautiful people, and we imagine that we are fat and ugly.
      • 2007 survey said half of girls aged eight to twelve want to look like the women they see on TV and in magazines and six out of ten people think they’d be happier if they were thinner.
      • Boys are under pressure too to look strong and handsome.
    • Unhappy people.
      • All this pressure leads to people feeling very unhappy about how they look.
      • Some people want to change their bodies by dieting or having plastic surgery.
      • Sometimes it can make some people so miserable that they stop taking part in activities they love doing, like sports, because they feel embarrassed about how they look.
    • God’s view:
      • The Bible says that God made us as special, unique individuals.
      • He knows the number of hairs on our heads!
      • He wants us to be healthy and live full lives, and not to worry about how we look.
    • What should we do?
      • Eat healthily and get exercise.
      • Be confident and happy.
      • We shouldn’t make fun of how other people look.
      • We shouldn’t compare ourselves to the celebrity photos we see in the media.
    • Introduce the psalm:
      • The writer is talking about how he started worrying about what other people thought about him, and nearly forgot how much God loved him.
  • [PowerPoint slides 4-5]
    • Read Psalm 73:1-10. (The Message version is a helpful translation of the psalm in this context).
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • The poem reminds us that God is good to us.
    • We shouldn’t compare ourselves to how other people look.
    • We should never bully someone else for how they look.
    • People who do that are full of hot air, loudmouths disturbing the air, and the people who pay attention to them are like thirsty puppies who lap up their words.
    • Don’t be like a thirsty puppy, lapping up silly words!

RESPOND

Reflection

  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Play some quiet music as you display the slide and read the following slowly:
    • I wonder if there’s anything we need to change about ourselves. Maybe we want to choose to eat more healthily or do more exercise. Rather than changing how we look, maybe we need to change how we treat others and choose never to be a bully. Maybe we need to stop listening to silly words telling us that we don’t look right. Maybe we need to remember that we are beautiful and handsome.

Prayer

  • Father God, thank you that you know us so well that you even know how many hairs are on our heads. Thanks that you know all about the pressures we face. Help us not to worry about how we look. We’re sorry for when we’ve laughed at other people because of how they look. Amen.

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. The Princess Diaries (Disney 2001) certificate U. Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Pressure to Look Assembly PowerPoint.
  3. Crazy costumes and hats and some silly music for Silly Fashion Show opening activity.
  4. A digital camera and means of showing photos for Self-Portrait opening activity.
  5. The Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk) for additional Self-Portrait opening activity.

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