We know that the pressures on women are higher than they've ever been before, hell, we're feeling the direct force of that every day, but something that we might not be appreciating as much as we should is how young girls are when they first notice the pressure on them to look a certain way. The Be Real Campaign, founded by the YMCA and Dove, has run a survey of 2000 secondary school pupils and they found that 36% (over a third) of 11-16 year-olds are willing to do 'whatever it takes' to look goo and 30% said that they isolate themselves because of low body confidence.
The survey also found that 79% of those surveyed said how looks were important to them and that 57% have dieted or would consider it. To put that another way: that is over a half of young people, CHILDREN, who are putting themselves on a diet, or thinking about it, because they are unhappy with the way that they look. OVER HALF. HOW have we let this happen???
One girl called Isabel, 15, who took the survey said: "It is everywhere. It's something that I think about every day, all the time, what I'm looking like, you know, how I'm dressing and how other people perceive me."
Josh, 16 said: "I photoshop every one of my profile photos, I kid you not, I get rid of my spots, I get rid of my double chin."
And the worst part is about this is that I'm not really surprised, I am saddened, but unfortunately, I'm not surprised. But I don't think results like these can be taken lying down, I think we have got to do what we can to fix it and that's why I was relieved and heartened to see the response to this.
YMCA England and Wales Chief Executive Denise Hatton said: "Evidence shows that schools are uniquely placed to support young people to hold positive discussions around body image with their peers and help reduce the negative impact low body confidence can have. We are now calling on schools across the country to download the Be Real Campaign tool kit to support their pupils to lead body confident and healthy lives."
To any teachers out there reading this, I would encourage you to please download this tool kit. You can do so HERE. When asked, 1/5 teaches said that they don't feel comfortable talking to their pupils about issues surrounding body confidence and I'm sad to say that that's not really good enough either.
I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who find themselves rolling their eyes now when people say the words 'body positive' to them, but I hope findings like this will force people to actually think about what this means. About the pressure that is on all of us now that is causing young people, who shouldn't have a care in the world, to become fixated on 'bettering' themselves.