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Old 31st May 2012   #1
Join Date: December 2011
Posts: 40
Default ''Reflections on Body Image'' report

The U.K. government panel which, as discussed on this forum before, has been studying body image, has now published its report, and its conclusions are devastating.

Coverage appears in several British newspapers. The first includes a link to the report itself.

As the Independent newspaper article notes, the conclusions are devastating.

More than half the British public suffers from a negative body image, an inquiry by MPs has heard.

The problem is so acute that girls as young as five now worry about their size and appearance, with children in danger of picking up their parents' body-related anxieties, their report said.

Cosmetic surgery rates have increased by nearly 20% since 2008 and the rise was said to be fuelled by advertising and "irresponsible" marketing ploys, the cross-party group of MPs was told.

The inquiry, which took evidence from academics, the public, industry, charities and other experts, heard that getting rid of dieting could wipe out 70% of eating disorders.

I find this comment interesting:

Appearance is also the greatest cause of bullying in schools, evidence suggested.

Children and adolescents were seen to be more vulnerable to body image concerns.

Central YMCA chief executive Rosi Prescott branded the report's findings shocking.

"It's clear that there's something seriously wrong in society when children as a young as five are worrying about their appearance, based on the messages they are seeing all around them," she said.

Certain groups have now co-opted "bullying" as a code word for pushing their particular agendas, but to full-figured girls, bullying actually happens, and it genuinely makes their lives horrible. Worse still that in some cases, the bullying comes from the schools and educators, as well as parents, not just peers.

The BBC report focusses on the idea of body-image lessons for youth. This is all for the good, but I'm always worried that such actions could let the fashion industry off the hook for its practices, which are the real cause of negative body image.

The BBC report also notes this interesting proposition:

Among other recommendations was a review into whether the Equality Act 2010 should be amended to include appearance-related discrimination, which would be put on the same legal basis as race and sexual discrimination.

Under the current act, people can be prosecuted for verbal abuse if it is considered to be serious enough.

If this was amended it would be a offence to harass someone because of their appearance, for example by drawing attention to their weight.

Legislation such as this is always problematic, but if there are going to be laws prohibiting discrimination, then discrimination against full-figured women is the most genuine of abuses and should indeed be prohibited.
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