‘I was always nervous to get my haircut or to try on new clothes because I was really nervous about what people would say. I’d get loads of questions from people about why I’d chosen to look a certain way.’
Craig, from Liverpool, struggled with anxiety for two years after being severely bullied at school. He lived in fear of leaving his front door and now wants to make sure others do not go through similar difficulties. The 25-year-old wants other young people to embrace their individuality and understand and respect other people regardless of their upbringing, background, race or gender.
‘I generated a lot of Facebook followers by promoting life as good. It was not healthy. When I am away from social media I can tow my own line, but when I go back on it all those dysmorphias reappear. We use the internet now to escape reality. We’re not socialising, we’re not being with people. We’re just living in this bubble.’
Calvin started his journey with Fixers in 2016 when he was identifying as female and preparing to transition. During his journey he reflected and felt this wasn’t the right path for him. Now currently living as a man, Calvin wants more young people to be true to themselves and support each other, especially regarding body image issues.
‘Now we’ve got younger and younger people using social media their mental health is deteriorating because we’re all just trying to be someone else and it’s not possible to achieve this.’
Harry, from Birmingham, started working with Fixers in 2016 when he was 19-years-old. At the time he battled with depression, anxiety and anger problems on a daily basis. Now 21, he is still using his past experiences to encourage young people to help make the world a ‘happier place’. He wants more young people to feel empowered by their originality and stop trying to fit in, or be someone they’re not!
Check out Harry’s ‘Share Your Smile’ campaign here.
‘The approach that a lot of doctors seem to have is that they’ll listen to you for five minutes, make a list in their head and then they’ll tell you to go away and try something and then come back if you still have a problem. They don’t want to deal with it now.’
Josh, 19, from Leeds has suffered in silence for years with the invisible and yet crippling effects of ME and became a Fixer to urge people to understand someone might be in pain and exhausted even when there are no physical symptoms. He doesn’t want others to be labelled a lazy teenager as he was just because he looked 'typical'.
Josh’s film and full project details can be found by clicking here.
‘When you’re growing up you get comments about ‘puppy fat’ and you’re parents will tell you you’re putting on weight. When that chubbiness doesn’t go, when you’re older, they pinpoint on it and that really affects your body image quite badly.’
Growing up as a girl, Louie never fitted in or felt comfortable and it was only when he heard the term transgender, that he realised it described him. Louie, from Swansea, became a Fixer aged 20 in 2017 because he wanted to help others like him or are often misgendered in public and to encourage more people to understand what being transgender is.
‘People generalise and assume that gay men are going to be flamboyant or expressive, but that’s not always the case. When I came out my friends would ask ‘Are you sure?’ because I didn’t fit that stereotype.’
Jacob became a Fixer in 2017 aged 19 to challenge perceptions of body image because he feels people often ‘see’ his sexual orientation before looking at the rest of his character. He created some posters to educate young people on LGBT issues and the pitfalls of imposing labels on others because of the way they look, sharing them in schools around his home town of Keighley.
‘People like us, our generation, are probably the best people to teach teachers about body image- ironically! And students, they also need to be more understanding because it’s them who are actually saying horrible things about each other.’
Gavin, from Newport, became a Fixer aged 20 in 2016 to show what it’s like to have a transgender child in the family. He recorded poignant films with his mum and nan, telling their story of what happened when he came out and how it changed the family. He hoped the videos would encourage other families to be open to discussions.
‘I think both teachers and pupils need more of an understanding of ideas of masculinity and femininity. We need more open conversations on both sides.’
Alex from Newport became a Fixer in 2015 when he was 17 because he wanted to encourage people to be more understanding of why a transgender person needs to live the life they’re happy with. His poster campaign helped people to see how trapped a transgender person can feel in a job or in their social circle. Now 20 years of age, Alex took part in The Body Image Fix to share his experiences of discrimination and how physical appearance can impact your self-esteem.
The Body Image Fix for girls is supported by The Tampon Tax Fund distributed by The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. DCMS helps to drive growth, enrich lives and promote Britain abroad.
The Body Image Fix for boys is supported by Wellcome Trust. 'Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We're a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.