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How important is having the perfect body?

Friday 18th November 2016

A recent survey has shown that young men struggle as much as young women when it comes to the idea of a perfect body.

The survey of 1,000 secondary-aged students, carried out by Credos on behalf of the Advertising Association, showed that 55% would consider changing their diet to look better. 23% of respondents believed there was such a thing as a ‘perfect male body’.

According to this research, over half of young males struggle to discuss concerns with teachers and just under a third when it comes to talking with parents. Respondents said that the pressure to look good comes from social media, advertisers, friends and celebrities.

What’s the perfect body in your eyes? Do you exercise regularly, and if so, do you feel pressured to do so?

Advertisers have come under scrutiny for not showing a more diverse range of body shapes. Do you think this is fair? Is there something the BB should do to help young people who struggle with body image pressures?

What’s your opinion?

We hear the views from some BB young people…

“It would be easy to point the finger at the media,” he added, “but I think it’s more of a confidence issue.

“I know that celebrities will post pictures on Snapchat of themselves going to the gym or whatever, and a lot of our age group use Snapchat and other picture based social media platforms like Instagram. I think that’s also an offender.”

Dave, 19

“Society expects young men to be able to handle themselves, not to be caught up in emotional drama, which is seen to be un-masculine.

“But at the same time, not to look a certain way is also perceived as un-masculine. Our response is create safe spaces where young men can talk about whatever it is that is bothering them and not be judged.”

Paul, 25

Discuss this with your group

Get a conversation going with your young people using the discussion starters above and see how they feel about body image and advertising.

Further Resources

The Advertising Association has developed resources specifically designed to support young people gain better understanding and resilience on commercial messaging. Media Smart has materials for both leaders and young people.

Learn more about Media Smart at mediasmart.uk.com

Share what your young people think, email us at: newsdesk@boys-brigade.org.uk

Continue the conversation on Twitter: @BBgazette using hashtag #BBvoice

Include your first name, age and where you’re from.

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