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The media has been an influence on how people perceive themselves for as long as it has existed, regardless of whether or not we choose to acknowledge this, it’s the truth. Unfortunately, the constant message thrown down young people’s throat is that they need to achieve this unrealistic standard of tall, slim yet curvaceous or tall, muscular with perfect hair. 

Only what people don’t realise is the extreme and unhealthy lengths these models go through to achieve this look. From starvation to smoking, excessive exercise to drugs, models wanting to be considered ‘perfect’ do these things – many end up with mental health conditions such as bulimia and anorexia themselves.

Ask yourself, what kind of impact does this have on us? It influences young people to put their body in danger, developing insecurities and mental health disorders – and for what? To be a size 0? To have a thigh gap? To reach the media’s perception of beauty and perfection? It’s rather hypocritical isn’t it?

Those in the images shown to us don’t even meet the standards shown to us. Photoshopped to the maximum peak because pores, stretch marks, cellulite and scars are seen as ‘ugly’. It doesn't always cross our minds that boys and men are pressured into looking good too. Some male models take illegal steroids and are always in the gym to fit the criteria of perfection. Every man in tabloids is seen with a chizzled six pack, big muscles and a defined jaw line. Young males wish to be just like the males in the media which many times is unrealistic because everyone is built differently. This creates insecurities in young males which they are not willing to be open about, leading to even bigger mental health and physical problems.

Here at MHSP we want to encourage professionals to work much more with young people to help young people to be confident and believe in themselves. We have identified a few strategies and approaches (see useful links below) but we need you to support us with this message.

 We know how difficult it is to tackle these issues. We see that many times young people’s problems in terms of body image are dismissed so it is important that these issues are dealt with as they can lead to bulimia, anorexia, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

 

Useful links

  • Talking to your kids about body image Click here to take a look
  • Body image workshop plan Click here to take a look
  • Ask Normen website (body image) Click here to take a look
  • MHSP website (eating disorders) Click here to take a look

 

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