Calgary Board of Education



Students are made aware of the manner in which all forms of media send messages as to how women should act and look and how these can negatively affect self confidence. Content regarding the social construction of gender is infused into humanities and health lessons in particular, and is explored in complementary courses such as film studies and digital media.

Digital Media option class comments from students

"In digital media we have been learning about Photoshop and how it has the ability to turn something imperfect seem perfect. We had the opportunity to look at before and after pictures of models, and saw the vast amount of changes that occurred through the process of photoshop. This helped us realize that no one is perfect. Many people feel the need to look like the girl on the 'front cover of the magazine' but the truth is, it's all fake. These unrealistic ideas of perfection have a huge affect on peoples self confidence, especially girls. Being a part of a girls school, I've realized how important it is for people to not believe everything, because what you see online or in the magazines is usually never true, and we cant let these fake ideas of perfection bring us down, because it's not something one can achieve." Sara P.

"We are learning Photoshop. This relates to boosting and trying to preserve self-confidence because a lot of the times when we are looking at before and after pictures including people, especially girls, it helps us realize that being perfect on the outside is not important or realistic. A major target of media are teenage girls because they are very prone to low self-confidence, and being in an all girls school full of teenage girls, things such as this have an enormous impact on they way we act and behave which can have a long lasting impact." Wahida R.

"In digital media, we are learning how to use Photoshop and are currently using women as our models. This proves that not everything that we see in the media is true and can be edited and changed to look like someone totally different. Using programs like photoshop, companies change their models to the stereotypical "Pretty" women, by making them skinny and  removing marks and blemishes, etc.,  creating the need to look like those women. Doing this work in class opens our eyes to the real and the fake." Rheanna T.

"In our computer class we are learning how everything is not what it seems especially when it comes to models' physical appearances. When you are looking at catalogues or walking into a store there are a lot of pictures of girls that are skinny and attract guys, and instantly a girl can lose her self-confidence. Our school is helping us learn that these pictures are actually full-out Photoshopped and the only reason why their skins are so flawless or why the models are so skinny is just the use of simple tools. We watched a video of a model transforming from one girl to another, the changes were crazy but it gave the message that you're perfect regardless of colour, race, or size. We also learned how to make the exact changes and I knew right then after seeing the difference between the girl before and after was that she was perfectly fine as she is." Verneet L.

"When our class learned how to Photoshop we learned that the models on ads are just covered up with 'technology techniques' such as paint or the healing brush to hide their imperfection even though they are beautiful naturally." Haiqua J.

"In AJA News we edited models that in theory we couldn't look like without Photoshop. It makes girls want to be what they see in photos, though they go to extremes in figuring out how they could look like the models in photos but what they don't know is that the models don't look like that. They look like that only because of Photoshop." Hannah N.

Other explorations of Social Construction of Gender:

At WorldSkills, learning about gender and media.

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