The media is very powerful, and advertising is especially powerful. With so many glossy magazines – and so many pictures of beautiful people – it’s tough to escape the pressure to look good.
But so many of these pictures are false. So many have been enhanced, cropped, cut, and reshaped to look different.
Therefore, the media’s portrayal of beauty is often misleading and unachievable. This makes many young people feel bad about themselves, and bad about their bodies, as they try to achieve these impossible looks.
I held a T-shirt printing workshop with young people where I had them write both positive and negative things they feel about themselves on a shirt. My aim was for them to write the negative aspects on the back, and the positives on the front, where they could see them and be proud.
What I’m trying to do is educate young people about the reality of media advertising, showing them that they are beautiful the way they are. Young people should not feel pressured to conform to how someone else looks. You should be pleased with who you are and what you look like.
Here is a list of Fixers helping me with this Fix:
Zoe Dziedziela Macauley Davies Tayla Podmore
All those that attended my workshop said that they enjoyed making the T-shirts as it helped them express positive views, and enhanced their self-confidence and self-esteem. The support of the people involved really helped the young people overcome any anxieties, they enjoyed themselves and are excited and looking forward to the next session.
'Through this project I have seen a difference in the young people at the centre - they are more confident and have started to feel good about themselves. It was really nice that we could all share what we thought was good about each other, and supported each other to feel better - there were no nasty comments and everyone really got involved.'
Here is some of the feedback I received:
'It was a really different way to look at body image and made me think differently about myself'
'Sometimes, the magazines can change what a person looks like so that we think they are beautiful, but now with the help of this project and the encouragement of my friends, I think that there are some good things about me too, and that it all doesn't depend on looks'