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.

Page 2 of 4

 Learning about some of the social determinants that make our bodies ‘look’ and ‘move’

differently.

 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