Being Unhappy With Body Is ‘Now Normal’ For Young People

But, good news, we've got some young people on the case, and they're giving the government some recommendations on how to help the country's youth...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

A damning report from a group of young people has found that body dissatisfaction starts as early as six years old, and can lead to depression

Titled A Body Positive Future, the report was put together by the Youth Select Committee, an 11-strong group comprised of 13-18 year-olds. It urges the government to make some big changes in order to help young people.

First up, Parliament must address current knowledge gaps - which means doing extra research to find out what the issues with young people’s body image are and how affecting they can be.

Secondly, the group requested that resources around body positivity aren’t only tailored to women - who are currently targeted in most campaigns - but directed towards addressing the specific needs of young men, LGBT people, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities or illnesses.

Thirdly, they’d like a National Body Confidence week - this would help provide awareness about the importance of being body confident

Fourthly, they want to appoint a Government Equalities Office minister, this is someone who would work with the Equalities secretary to help bolster the remit of what that department is.

Fifthly, they want the Be Real campaign - a movement for body positivity - to be able to have workshops with major brands so that they can take up its Body Image Pledge.

That pledge is..’for the responsible portrayal of body image by the advertising, fashion, media and music industries, as well as by other relevant organisations’

Social media isn’t covered there, and that’s because it’s in the public’s hands. While it can’t necessarily mislead as much as industries - with all their hi-tech capabilities and increased resources - can, it is blamed for many young people’s body-worries.

Recently, it was found that 70% of young women edit their photos before posting them, as do 50% of men.

And this attitude - for all of social media’s abilities to unite people over shared differences - can trickle down, bolstered by the prevalent themes in visual industries: that there are very strict definitions on how a person can look good.

Susie Williams, a member of the NHS Youth Forum told the BBC: ‘I know six-year-olds who don’t go to school because the kids say they have hairy legs and they think they’re fat.’

Another study found 10% of secondary school boys have skipped meals, and another 10% would take steroids if it helped them achieve a particular appearance.

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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