Stellar Quines have been working in collaboration with SHE Scotland for almost a year now on a variety of projects in order to support their ambition of promoting the empowerment of women and girls.
During the February half term holiday Stellar Quines were invited to explore themes surrounding ‘Body Image’ with a group of young women who engage with SHE Scotland’s activities across schools and community centres in North Edinburgh. We spent two days working with the group exploring what can be a difficult and complicated issue.
Research has found that higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders. The research also found that among teenagers, 37% felt upset, and 31% felt ashamed in relation to their body image: it is clear there is a need to explore these issues and promote a healthy relationship for young women and their bodies.
With this in mind, Stellar Quines kick started the two days playing games and having fun with our bodies. Playing and exploring, we began to develop some writing based on a few reoccurring sentences and themes which came out of our games, with one or two of the young women writing short monologues. One piece read:
They say I should love my body,
Be comfortable in it,
But how can I feel happy in it,
When they also tell me
My value is determined by the number on the scale,
The makeup I wear,
The looks that I get,
That my body Is my important asset.
The group then combined their words, thoughts and statements into two scripts and began to play with how these would be presented. Thinking about interesting ways to share a lot of ideas at once, two groups began to develop their own short performance pieces.
On day two, we were lucky enough to have access to North Edinburgh Arts theatre space, which gave the group the opportunity to explore using a stage and play with the scripts they had created the day before. The groups all had the opportunity to share and perform their pieces to one another, as well as provide constructive feedback to further develop their ideas.
This was a brilliant opportunity for the young women to explore writing, directing and performing, whilst giving them new creative skills in order to explore ways of talking, thinking and creating work about their lived experiences.