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Somebody Like Me

23rd January, 2017

Young people are facing increasing pressures relating 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 should look and how they should behave.

Through powerful outlets such as print, television, film and digital media, young people are repeatedly presented with images of the ‘ideal’ body. The pressures to conform to these ‘ideals’ are reinforced by their peers and through social media in the ever-connected world in which they now live.

Given the wide range of contributing factors and the differing ways young people can experience issues with body confidence and body image, making positive changes in this area requires a range of approaches.

As part of this research, young people were given the space to discuss and share their experiences. Their views and ideas were then used to create practical solutions that both they and others can take forward to help tackle body image anxiety in the UK.

To help tackle the growing body image anxiety experienced by young people, this research proposes that action be taken to:

  • Tackle the body image ‘ideals’ presented to young people.
  • Reduce the value placed on appearance in society.
  • Encourage schools to become settings that promote and foster body confidence among young people.
  • Support parents and carers to help promote body confidence among young people.
  • Equip young people with the means to tackle the causes of body image anxiety.

The findings from this research are set out in the Somebody Like Me Report.

Also available to download is a Somebody Like Me Executive Summary.

If you want to find out more about this research or if you have a query please contact YMCA England’s Policy team on policy@england.ymca.org.uk.