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Exploring the Mind | Every body is a Great Body: Body Positivity and Puberty


Monday November 9, 2020: 7:00pm to 8:30pm  Add to Calendar /   Add to Google Calendar




Join Dr. Rona Carter of the University of Michigan's Department of Psychology for a presentation on her research into the role of gender and cultural norms and expectations in body satisfaction in girls.

Living in a female body, a disabled body, an aging body, a fat body, a body with mental illness is to awaken daily to a world that expects a certain set of apologies to already live on our tongues. There is a level of “not enough’ or ‘too much’ sewn into these strands of difference. For girls, the expectation for apology begins during the pubertal transition when the ratio of body fat to muscle increase and the body’s basal metabolism rate drops about 15% (a person’s weight is partly dependent on this rate). Girls’ diverging physical appearances cue increased pressures from peers and adults in their social environment to conform to an ideal body shape that often is unrealistically thin. Culture, particularly racial and ethnic background, can play an integral role in body satisfaction in girls.  In this talk, Dr Rona Carter will discuss how conceptions of girls’ body ideal around the time of the pubertal transition are increasingly divided along the lines of gender and culture and the norms and expectations associated with the concept of gender. She will also discuss how girls can navigate these identity-related cultural messages that attribute meaning to their changing bodies in a way that transforms how they understand and accept their new body. 

Dr. Carter is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology at Florida International University and her post-doctoral training at the Institute for Social Research and Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Carter’s research has contributed to the body of knowledge on off-time pubertal development, that is, developing earlier or later than one's same-sex/age peers and how social-cultural contextual factors and wider social systems exacerbate or ameliorate the risks associated with off-time development. Her scholarship is guided by the central tenets of social development theory which emphasize that individual development occurs within a social and cultural context, which itself develops, and furthermore, perpetually interacts with the developing individual, with a focus on how different aspects of puberty and the ways that adults and peers respond to pubertal growth are related to psychological health and well-being. She has received numerous honors and awards for her research including the Carolyn Payton Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association, Division 35. 

This program is in partnership with the University of Michigan Department of Psychology.

This video premieres on AADL.TV.