For this campaign, l really wanted to know and understand the young minds affected by body image and how it has lead to mental health issues like eating disorder. Lucky me! I was given the opportunity to talk to a group of young teenagers between the ages of 13-16.
I came up with a list of questions from simple to questions that may have affected them personally. Questions used for this interview is listed below:
- Do you feel the need to be perfect?
- Do you think you are perfect?
- How well is your understanding of a positive and healthy body image? Why or why not?
- Do you think you have been educated enough about body image? When did they teach you about healthy body image?
- Has the media influenced your perception of a perfect body?
- When trying on a piece of clothing at a retail store, does the sizing of your clothing influence your thoughts about your body shape?
- In your perspective (can be from personal experience, media influence, or clothing influence), do you think media and the fashion industry have followed The 2009 National Advisory Group?
From this focus group interview, l was able to have to the conclusion that teenagers understanding of healthy body image is extremely high, however, they have pinpointed despite their high-level understanding. Media still plays a major role in defining, pressuring and manipulating images to present perfection.
One form of information that shocked me was despite their high level of understanding, one female said that most of healthy body image perception was taught through media, whereas, they thought that schools haven’t really dig deep into the topic such as how to promote positive health image and what can be done apart from highlighting what is healthy and what isn’t. This resonated with me, this is why l believe schools need to start teaching kids as long as 8 years of age about positive mental health as part of PDHPE.
This resonated with me, this is why l believe schools need to start teaching kids as long as 8 years of age about positive mental health as part of PDHPE. On top of this, media can be seen as an educational material if it was to promote positive body image. Kids learn from them but learning the negative aspect isn’t what we want. Let media become more positive! Teach the kids the right things!