Body Confidence Awareness Week (BCAW)
Body Confidence Awareness Week (BCAW) provides an opportunity for students, educators,
school staff and key school community stakeholders (i.e. parents, caregivers etc.) to gain an
intersectional socio-cultural awareness of the importance of respecting body diversity. Body
Confidence, is an individual’s ability to “love the skin they are in” within a safe, caring, equitable
and inclusive environment where they are free from judgment, exclusion, lack of access to
resources or ridicule because of their physical appearance. Body Confidence, is the celebration of
body positivity, recognition of body diversity, and the goal of body equity combined. When
students feel comfortable “in their skin,” their self-esteem radiates. This directly compliments their
ability to be better social, emotional, academic and civically well-rounded students with a greater
impact of their student voice resonating in their school and larger community.
We invite your school board, division, and community organizations to consider adopting the 2nd
week of October annually as Body Confidence Awareness Week. According to most research,
appearance, body image, and sometimes referred to more generally as “looks,” emerges as the
greatest concern of children/youth of any age. Adults are not immune to the societal nor
individualized scrutiny either with over 95% of adults, inclusive of all genders, admitting to self-
loathing comments about some aspect of their body and a desire, whether fleeting or more
permanent, to alter their bodies. The societal pressures to adhere to unrealistic body and beauty
ideals also encompass more than only size, shape and weight concerns. Pressures are often
experienced to an even greater extent for those of whom their body image intersects with their
identities as disabled, racialized, LGBTQ, gender non-conforming and newcomers often dealing
with acculturation/assimilation influences among others.
Adopting BCAW in school boards, divisions and organizations provides an opportunity to raise
awareness of body differences and similarities in a way that encourages conversations. It also
provides opportunities for youth and adults to practice advocacy and leadership skills as Body
Confidence Ambassadors (BCAs). Similar to other institutionalized days or weeks of significance,
BCAW is meant to engage entire communities. Most importantly it allows for a dialogue that goes
far beyond healthy eating and healthy activity – the dominant discourse in most spaces. Education
about nutrition and movement on their own are limiting in the engagement of people about body
image and self-esteem. Education must include an awareness about the environmental, social and
structural policies and practices that support every day overt and even ‘invisible’ body-based
discrimination as a system.
BCAW provides an opportunity for:
A deeper, whole-person, culturally-relevant approach to body confidence which includes
social and emotional confidence, and learning about the importance of healthy
relationships and mental health to body confidence.
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Learning about some of the social determinants that make our bodies ‘look’ and ‘move’
Learning about the ‘isms’ or stigma and oppression that impact how we feel about our
bodies and other bodies.
Recognition of body confidence as a human rights issue for everybody.
Most recently BCC is advocating to have the second week of October designated Body Confidence
Awareness Week throughout Canadian School Districts and Divisions.
On April 19, 2017 Toronto District School Board, Canada’s largest school board, became the first to
pass this motion