The team here at pro-diversity modelling agency Talent Management has just come across this great school report on the BBC addressing the issue of body image among teens.
Slide along to 12.00 as schoolchildren Lizzie and Luke from Tarporley High in Cheshire discuss their investigation of how modern teens are affected by body image issues.
In the report, the pair discover some shocking statistics, such as 1-5% of the UK population are thought to suffer from body dismorphic disorder and that recent years have seen an increase in body dysmorphia in teen boys.
The report also revealed that 8/10 teens read glossy magazines, and one girl commented: “Sometimes I get annoyed at the idea of magazines airbrushing photos because it creates the ‘perfect’ person and I don’t think that’s right.”
Later, the students interview British plus-size model Jenna Herlingshaw, who is a size 14 – 16, and ask whether she thinks being plus-size has had a better effect on her modelling career compared to being size 0 model.
“Absolutely, she answered. “I feel like the size that I am is a true refection of who I am, and I feel really confident in that. I feel like the term ‘plus-size model’ can be a bit confusing, it’s the wrong term really, the wording of it doesn’t really have the right ring to it. I feel like to be a model you need to promote health, beauty and confidence.”
They also asked the model how she feels about seeing size 0 models on the front of glossy magazines: “I think there’re a lot of parallels portrayed by the media that put pressure on young adults to mirror the lives of these models or celebrities, when really they are unachievable; they’re not real images,” she explained.
The children also spoke to CBBC presenter Cerrie Burnell, who was born with one hand and asked what she would say to someone who has issues with confidence that may also have a disability: “You have to be comfortable in your own skin and you’ve always got to try and see the good in the situation, so focus on the things you love about your body and let your insecurities go if you can. Everyone has insecurities, not just people who are plus-size models or have a disability or who are a different colour.”
Talent Management couldn’t agree more and think that seeing a diverse and realistic range of people in both the entertainment and modelling industries will help both the young and the old learn to accept differences and be happy in our own skin.