On the plus side, Mandy represented Australia as an athlete, but she also experienced her own body image ‘struggles’ during her late teens and early twenties.
Now working as a consultant with Education Queensland and operating a child behaviour support private practice, Mandy has come full circle by completing a student research study into the links between how people view gender roles, their investment in body image and their body satisfaction.
The Sunshine Coast resident says that people who strongly adhere to feminine ideals experience lower satisfaction with their bodies.
“This was partly due to the perception that their self-worth is largely determined by their appearance,” Mandy says.
“Results also showed that irrespective of masculine and feminine traits, the desire to improve one’s appearance via healthy and adaptive behaviours is associated with higher body satisfaction.
“Adherence to the masculine ideal neither contributed to body satisfaction, nor detracted from it.”
Mandy says these results could be used in the preparation of educational programs and therapeutic interventions aiming to help Australian men and women suffering from low levels of body satisfaction; for example, those with eating disorders.
The keen student started her Bachelor of Psychology in 2011 and has just submitted her thesis as the culmination of this degree.
Mandy’s earlier study achievements include a Diploma of Education in 1987, a Bachelor of Education in 1999, and a Master of Learning Management in 2003.
“I have been involved with Education for approximately 24 years as an outdoor education teacher, a classroom (Primary) teacher, a High School Learning Support/Indigenous Support teacher, and as a Behaviour Support Consultant with Education Queensland, for the best part of 14 years.
“Since 2009 I have been operating my own private practice (Help Your Child Grow-Behaviour Support Consultancy) and support schools, parents and individual students. This is in conjunction with my work with Education Queensland.
“As a parent of two children (boy and girl), a teacher and a consultant, I personally witness first-hand the impact of how ‘feminine ideals’ are impacting on children as young as seven.
“My 9-year-old daughter has recently asked me if she is fat – she has NO weight issues but wants to have a six pack like another sporty girl in her grade.
“I have applied to three different Universities to undertake a Clinical Masters in Psychology in 2015 (fingers crossed) and would be looking at furthering my studies into this area of research and clinical practice.
“I would also like to make particular note of my CQUni supervisor Dr Suzanne Coker. Her support and guidance has assisted me in producing a quality thesis that I am proud of.”