Body Image In teens

What is body image?

How you see yourself, how you feel about the way you look and how you think others see you is known as ‘body image’. Many things influence how people look, such as size, weight, build, skin, appearance, gender, fashion, religious identity and culture.

How is body image created?

As you get older and start to become more aware of your appearance, body image usually becomes important. Thinking about how you look is a normal part of development and is one of the top concerns of teens. Finding your own identity during this time, along with all the other changes going on, can often feel like a struggle even though it is a normal part of growing up. Through this period you may feel stressed or unhappy, but it's important to know you are not the only one going through it, your friends and family have all most likely gone through it too. One of the things that can add stress is the normal tendency to compare yourself with others. This is linked to both wanting to fit in and to feel accepted by peers. It is also an important part of establishing identity. Clothes and image play an important role in individual expression, which is usually about being unique or belonging to a certain group or culture. Adding to this is the fact that our culture tends to judge people based on their looks. The media is one of the big influences on this and it can put pressure on all age groups.

"That’s what I’m afraid of. Not being enough. Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough…" Brooke Davis

Brooke took this picture to show teens that even celebrities are faced with these problems, that this shouldn't stop them from doing anything they want. This image is called not pretty enough.

What influences body image?

The media - We are constantly exposed to imagery from popular media such as movies, TV, web and magazines. This can lead people to form ideas about a certain kind of ‘ideal look’ that they see as normal and desirable. Comparing yourself with these images may leave you feeling disappointed or not good enough. Did you know that most media images have been altered through lighting effects, camera techniques and computer software? This produces flawless faces and bodies that are unrealistic. Often, touched up images of sporting heroes, fashion models and pop stars become role models for how people want to look. Have you ever wondered what the effect of this might be on how you see yourself?

Other people - Your friends, peers and parents can give messages about how you look. This can be positive or negative depending on how they feel about themselves or how they relate to you.Other’s comments and behaviours can range from direct critical comments and questions about how you look to their beliefs about their own body image.

How to get help?

There are many ways to get help, talking to a trusted adult or talking to a school counsellor is always a great start. Otherwise there are always helplines that you can call or email.

Dont forget that you are not alone!

45% of women and 23% of men in the healthy weight range think they are overweight

Only one in five women are satisfied with their body weight

Nearly half of all normal weight women overestimate their size and shape

Approximately nine out of 10 young Australian women have dieted at least once in their lives

17% of men are on some sort of diet

Created By
Isabella Salameh
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