Monday, September 30, 2013

Improving school related body image

October's article discusses how parents can help improve the body image of their school age children.


Last week, I had an interesting conversation with four year 9 female pupils, during which they all agreed that they shared the same problem. The problem was that their parents, more specifically their mother’s, attitude to body image issues.. One girl said that her mother responded “don’t be silly” and another said her mother just said, “you’re beautiful” and changed the subject.

It is vital that parents make time to discuss body image with their children. Most importantly, parents should listen, really listen (by giving their children their undivided attention), empathise with them and discuss any concerns that their children raise.

Parents should emphasize to their children that they have their full support and that they can come to them with body related or any other concerns that they have.

Read Article


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Christina Aguilera talks about body image

Over the last few years Christina Aguilera, the 32 year old Grammy award singer, has been on the receiving end of much public scrutiny and many unkind words about her weight gain.

Here are a few body image related statements that she made in response:

• "I've been through my highs; I've been through my lows; I've been through the gamut of all things in this business," she said in an interview with Marie Claire. "Being too thin. Being bigger. I've been criticized for being on both sides of the scale. It's noise I block out automatically. I love my body. My boyfriend loves my body. My son is healthy and happy, so that's all that matters to me."

• "It's important to embrace the things you might define as so-called imperfections — because something that you might call an imperfection, someone else might find so amazing and so beautiful," she told Elle. "It's all in how you embrace yourself, your faults, and your mistakes in life. There's no better way to learn and become a better person than to go through those moments."

• "I don't weigh myself — it's all about how I feel in my clothes. What looks good on one person might not look good on another body type. I happen to be very confident in my own skin. It takes time to get to that place, but it's all about embracing yourself and your body," she told Marie Claire.

• "I am enjoying being a woman now. Every year I think, This is going to be a great year, a new chapter. And it is. I enjoyed being young but I would never relive my teens. Those are hard years for everyone," she confessed to ABC News.

• "At this point of my life", she said on Jay Leno.I "'m 32 and I feel sexier than ever because you know what you want."

This month, on her return to The Voice (US), Christina’s obvious weight loss and slim figure made headlines around the world. This time the chatter was both enthusiastic and positive.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Attractiveness related to securing initial job interview

If you are attractive and looking for a new job; I have some good news for you. According to a recent Italian study conducted by The University of Messina, you have a greater probability of getting an interview, when your application contains your picture as well as your CV, than your less attractive competition.

As part of the study, researchers sent university students 1,100 CV’s, which had digitally manipulated headshots attached. The students were asked to review the CV’s and indicate whether or not they considered the job applicant attractive.

Identical CV’s, (qualifications and experience) with different photos were then sent out to over 1500 job vacancies.

On average, 30% of the CVs received a response. The responses (percentage) per category (attractiveness of the applicant), are outlined below:-

    - Attractive women - 54%
    - Attractive men - 47%.
    - Unattractive women - 7%
    - Unattractive men - 26%

The study’s designers concluded:

"Searching for a job seems to be just like a beauty contest: it is better for unattractive women to invest on aesthetic surgery than in education." [I hope they are not serious].

UK job seekers, whether they are attractive or not, do not normally need to supply a photo along with their CV. This makes the selection process fair and objective.

However, the growth of online application processes that link to social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook, means that more and more employers are able to not only see what the applicant looks like, but are also able to learn much more about them that the information supplied on their CV.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Attention, affection and encouragement

Attention, affection and encouragement are essential if children are to feel safe, secure, loved, valued and important. They need hugs, words of support and to be told “yes you can”, “yes you are beautiful/good.”

Growing up without these three essential building blocks that significantly contributes to a child’s emotional wellbeing, can have an immensely negative effect on their life; it can be devastating.

On the bright side, children that are given generous amounts of attention, affection and encouragement tend to grow up with a healthy sense of self and confidence.

Words are a very important way in which parents can show their children affection and encourage them. Positive (and negative) words when taken to heart, can affect a child’s psyche and self for many years, it can even last a lifetime.

Continue Reading

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Appearance based bullying

A recent survey (Beatbullying and Parentdish), on bullying that polled 2,000 12 to 18-year-olds has found that appearance is often the target of bullies.

Almost half (48%) of, girls in particular, said they were bullied because of their appearance (too attractive,/not attractive enough).

20% cited weight as the reason behind their taunts.

10% said bulling was related to the way they dressed.

10% named skin conditions like acne.

Sadly, 30% of the hurtful words came from the victim’s friends and close acquaintances.

Taking bulling out of the equation, but keeping the focus on appearance, 80% of the teenagers were worried about their looks. They were particularly concerned about their weight and skin (spots).

Apart from appearance, the main reason for bulling was an individual’s level of intelligence / skill i.e. being good/ bad at something (69 %).


Monday, September 09, 2013

Realistic mannequins

In the last 10 years, the dress size of the average British woman has increased two sizes, from 12 to 16.

In contrast, the size of the mannequins used to showcase women’s clothing on the High Street has not kept pace with the size increase and has stuck rigidly, for the most part, to a size 10 e.g. Miss Selfridge. Exceptions include Dorothy Perkins and Wallis brands which use size 10 and 12 mannequins and plus size Evans that uses size 16 mannequins.

As part of the governments attempts to improve the body image of teens and women, Jo Swinson is calling for a change in policy the will result in mannequins reflecting the bodies sizes of modern women.

In line with Jo’s viewpoint, Debenhams has announced that it is planning to use a selection of size 16 mannequins in their Oxford Street store.

On the opposite side of the fence (no change) is The Arcadia Group, who have stated that their mannequins reflect the profiles of their customer base.

In response to Debenhams plans, Jo told the Sunday Times. “I would really like to see more retailers doing the same.”

“Many customers”, she continued, “ want to see more realistic images in magazines, TV and on the high street, and having mannequins that reflect and celebrate our diverse society is a really positive way of helping to achieve this.

“The images we see in the world of fashion are all pretty much the same - it's as if there's only one way of being beautiful,” she added.

Commenting on the issue Julie Court (My Body Beautiful’s founder) said:

“Showing realistic mannequins, of a healthy weight and size, in shop fronts will help normalise real body sizes and shapes. In time, this will hopefully lead to an increase in the body image / body confidence of females of all ages".


Monday, September 02, 2013

Body confidence survey

Skin care company Sanctuary Spa has recently quizzed 1,230 British women to find out:

1. The age at which they were most comfortable with their bodies when naked?
    34 years old.

2. How often they looked at their naked reflection?
    Every day - 40%
    Weekly - 25 %
    Never - 16 %

3 Their favourite body part?
    Bust - 30 %
    Legs - 22 %
    Shoulder 19 %

4. Body part that they would most like to change?
    Stomach - 57 %

5. Celebrity bodies they admired and why?
        Elle McPherson (49) - 50%
        Kylie Minogue - 43 %
        Jennifer Lopez - 32 %
        Carol Vorderman - 8%
        Holly Willoughby - 48%
        Catherine Zeta Jones - 22%
        Nigella Lawson - 17%
        Jennifer Aniston - 47 %
        Darcey Bussell - 25%
        Cameron Diaz - 35%
        Darcey Bussell - 16 %

“Body confidence is all about being healthy, strong and happy in my own skin," commented Darcey Bussell.