Friday, October 31, 2014

A mannequin like me

A member of our team took the above picture earlier this week.  The mannequin was in a Yours clothing shop (plus size). 

“At last”, she exclaimed excitedly; “a mannequin that is wearing the same size dress (14) as me!”

“It’s sad”, she added, “that I had to go into a plus size shop to find mannequins that reflect the proportions of the average British woman*. I should be able to find them in most if not all high street shops”.

The good news is that larger mannequins do exist on the high street, although they are few and far between e.g. Last autumn Debenhams became the first UK department store to display size 16 mannequins.

Click here or on image to view enlargement.

*The average dress size (UK) is 16. YouGov 2013


Monday, October 27, 2014

Cultural environment and body image

In November’s article we ask the question: Does a person’s environment affect their body image?

This month a report by BBC reporter Jack Garland, presented a compelling argument that it does.

Most people are familiar with the fact that their environment can adversely affect their physical health. These health hazards e.g. air and water pollution, produce negative physical symptoms and ill health.

Less perceptible, but just as important, is the effect that a person’s environment can have on their mental health, body image and in consequence affect their physical health.
Environmental factors can and do influence the way we think and feel about ourselves and how we interact with others.
Kalia Anderson a student at a university in Boulder in Colorado UDA said:

“I would look at myself in the mirror and I would think I was the most ugliest person in the world. That I was unlovable and unable to be ever considered beautiful. It was so intense; the thoughts in my head berated me over and over again.

“I would put myself on a spin bike and I would spin for an hour or two to make sure I had enough debt of calories so that I was able to have breakfast. My breakfast would consist of an apple and a handful of nuts; typically that was what I survived on for the entire day.

“It's difficult to tell but I honestly think that if I went to a different university in a different town, that my eating disorder will be under more control right now. I am getting there but it has been a longer process since I have lived in Boulder.”

Read Article


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nicole Scherzinger - Body image issues


We often think that a successful celebrity, someone with talent, money and good looks has it all. This week, Nicole Scherzinger, reminded us that celebrities also battle body image, self esteem and other issues; just like many of us.

Earlier this year Nicole confessed in an interview (Cosmopolitan) that during her 20’s she had felt “miserable on the inside.” At that time she was suffering from an illness that left her stuck in a “cycle of disordered eating”, despite her happy and successful public persona.

This week, in an interview (Evening Standard) promoting the release of her “honest and authentic” new album, ‘Big Fat Lie’, Nicole once again discussed her body related concerns.

I believed “I wasn’t pretty”, she said, “that I was fat, and that I wasn’t worthy of more…. “Hopefully people can feel like they can relate to it”, they will understand that “not everyone’s perfect”.

Happily the creative process of crafting the albums was akin to “therapy,” said Nicole, because it allowed her to deal with her past and the feeling that she “wasn’t enough”.

In response, Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of youth charity YMCA England told The Independent:

“Nicole Scherzinger’s comments show that body confidence is an issue which affects everyone. It is so important that celebrities and high profile figures, stand up and help challenge the myths of ‘perfect bodies’ and ‘perfect looks’ which hold so much influence with young people”.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

UK women are depressed about their appearence

2,339 UK women questioned as part of the Be Real campaign have told researchers that their physical appearance makes them 'feel depressed.’

Depression resulted in 36% refraining from exercise. By extrapolating these numbers across the UK’s female population; the study comes to the conclusion that 10.2 million UK women are affected in this way.

26% confessed that they struggled to stick to an exercise schedule.

25% were actively skipping meals, in an attempt to lose weight.

25% have admitted that their negative body image has limited their ability to:

- form a rewarding relationship.
- pursue the job/career they desired.

Almost 80% stated that they felt the UK was suffering from body confidence issues.

Over 50% believed that:

- the situation was getting worse
- They were powerless when confronted with society’s obsession with appearance.

Caroline Nokes MP, chair of that group, says: “Low body confidence is a critical public health issue that we cannot ignore. It affects everyone – all ages, both sexes – and starts as young as five years old.

“Through this campaign, we’re driving change through three priority areas. We want to ensure children and young people are educated about body confidence from an early age, to promote healthy living and wellbeing over weight loss and appearance, and to encourage the media, business and advertisers to recognise diversity and positively reflect what we really look like.”


Monday, October 13, 2014

Right to be forgotten

In May, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that search engines must remove links relating to European citizens if they are deemed outdated or irrelevant personal information. It is essentially an individuals ‘right to be forgotten’.

Since then Google has stated that it has removed 498,737 links across Europe. Of these 63,616 links, originating from 18,403 UK individuals, were removed; a success rate of 64.6%.

Examples of unsuccessful requests include a:

- former clergy who asked for two links to articles detailing an investigation into sexual abuse accusations.

- "media professional" requesting the removal of four links to articles reporting on "embarrassing content he posted to the internet",

- doctor’s call for the removal of 50+ links to newspaper articles about a botched procedure. In this case personal information (not detailing the procedures) was removed, but, "the rest of the links to reports on the incident remain in search results" said Google.


“Great distress and upset”.
“I now have 3 children,”

Last week we received a ‘right to be forgotten’ email request to remove a page from our website.

The page detailed a newspaper interview the lady in question had given several years ago, detailing her breast augmentation surgery that had increased her bust to a very large (unnatural) cup size. At the time she was happy with her decision and very vocal about it, but things had changed.

In her email she stated that the information now in the public domain (news, articles and blog sites) gave her “great distress and upset”.

“I now have 3 children,” she stated. Motherhood adding both weight and urgency to her desire to get the information removed.

We immediately complied with her request, removing all information by which she could be identified.

The incident made us realise how the internet has made it much more difficult for individuals to put past mistakes/embarrassing episodes behind them.

It is always prudent to think carefully before doing something that is irreversible or difficult to change. This is particularly true when considering significant changes e.g. body modification. Avoid making these types of decisions during times when you are highly emotional or feeling pressurised in someway.

Take all the time that you need to carefully evaluate the reasoning behind your decision; always bearing in mind that the current situation could (and in all likelihood will) change in the days, months and years ahead.


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Body Image Workshops - Book Now

We are now taking bookings for Body Image workshops (secondary schools) that will be delivered in the current academic year ( now until July 2015).

Workshop objective: To equip, educate and empower teenagers on issues related to body image.

 NB. The workshop program has ended.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Rethinking getting older

Here is an interesting article, that I thought our readers would find interesting:

"As I* begin my tenure as CEO of AARP, I challenge all of us to re-imagine what it means to get older. Let's disrupt aging. Let's upend our thinking around what it means to get older.

It's really not about aging. It's about living.

To disrupt aging, we need to own our age. We need to get to the point where we're no longer defined by the old expectations of what we should or should not do at a certain age.

We don't want to be defined by our age any more than we want to be defined by race or sex or income -- and frankly, I'm a little tired of other people defining me that way. I want people to define me by who I am, not how old I am."

*Article by Jo Ann Jenkins  CEO of AARP

Continue Reading


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Mother's influence children's body image

Young girls, some as young as seven, are acquiring a negative body image as a consequence of observing the actions of their mothers, a survey has found*.
Actions witnessed include mothers looking into a mirror and:
- calling themselves names e.g. ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ or ‘unattractive.’
- covered the parts of their body that they didn’t like.

Survey findings:

- 70% of mothers admitted that their children had observed them engaging in “negative body image habits.”
- A third of mothers participating in the survey admitted that they had seen their daughter mimic their negative body related actions e.g. pulling in their stomach (10%), pinching their thighs and even checking to see if they had any wrinkles (8%).
- A majority of the mothers said that they were aware that their action could negatively impact their children.
- 50% stated that they tried to be a “positive role model,’ which included refraining from negative actions in their children’s presence.
- 14% confessed that they had not given the issue (how their actions might affect their children) any thought.
- 7% believed that there was nothing they could do to change their behaviour or how their children responded to it.

“Words are extremely powerful in shaping our perceptions of both ourselves and others”, commented Prof Tony McEnery, a linguistic expert at Lancaster University.
“Research has shown that children as young as one are impacted by the words expressed by their parents or other influential people in their life.
“It is crucial that parents and role models understand the important role they play in shaping the self-esteem of their children and younger generations who look up to them.
“By learning to monitor one’s language and filtering out the negative and emphasising the positive, we are more likely to pass on positive, lifelong behaviours that have the power to affect self-esteem.”

* 2,000 women aged 30 to 55 who live with girls aged between seven and 17. The OnePoll survey was commissioned by Dove.