Are Camps That Ban Comments About Appearance Really Addressing the Problem?

The New York Times recently ran a story about camps where comments about appearance are banned.

Nary an utterance about hair, skin colour, height, weight, or clothes (bathing suits included). Instead campers and counsellors concentrate on the personality of all individuals. So remarks like "Your soul shines" and "I feel so happy to be around you" are the order of the day.

A bit far fetched? Maybe. (Nobody has ever told me that my soul shines) But many of these camps seem to be doing well, with growing demand for some of them. And, of course, attendance is voluntary. Today there is a wide array of summer activities that parents and kids can choose from. These camps are but one type. No heavy hand of the state to worry about in this experiment in social ordering. Yet they've also attracted a fair bit of scepticism, including from experts such as clinical psychologists.

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