Young people are facing increasing pressures related to their appearance. While a focus on the importance of appearance in society is by no means a new phenomenon, many young people today are struggling to escape the constant barrage of messages they receive about how they look and how they should behave.
Somebody Like Me, commissioned by the Be Real Campaign and undertaken by YMCA, aimed to do achieve two things: firstly, to look in depth at how young people viewed their own bodies and, secondly, to uncover what they thought needed to be done to tackle body image anxiety among young people within secondary school age.
Major findings within Somebody Like Me included:
- 52% of 11 to 16 year olds regularly worry about how they look
- 30% of 11 to 16 year olds isolate themselves because of body image anxiety
- 36% of 11 to 16 year olds said they would do ‘whatever it takes’ to look good, including considering cosmetic surgery
- Only 48% of young people surveyed had learned about body confidence in school
- Of those who had learned about body confidence in school, 76% said it made them feel more positive about themselves.
The quantitative fieldwork for Somebody Like was conducted by EdComs, a specialist education communications agency, which spoke to more than 2,000 secondary school pupils aged 11 to 16 years old from across the UK. In addition, 501 teachers from across the UK were also interviewed.
To supplement this, YMCA also held focus groups in 12 locations in the UK with young people aged between 11 and 16 years old. The focus groups were carried out in November and December 2016. Views and ideas were are included in the research report to create practical solutions that young people, teachers and others can take forward to help tackle body image anxiety in the UK.Download Somebody Like Me
Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit for Schools
On the back of these findings, the Be Real Campaign has launched a new Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit for Schools. Available to download for all secondary schools across the country, the pack provides lesson guidance, advice and materials to help teachers educate their pupils on body image.
We have produced a toolkit for schools because we know that in order to tackle body confidence later in life, it is essential that it begins from an early age. Secondary schools are a key setting for young people to discuss and challenge body confidence issues, with both teachers and students playing an important role in how this happens.Download Body Confidence Campaign Toolkit for Schools