What does body image matter?

  • In 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation published survey results revealing that individuals ages 8-18 years old consume over 7.5 hours of media a day.

  • And just five years later in 2015, Common Sense Media found the average teen consumed 9 hours of media a day: watching TV, visiting social media sites, perusing the Internet, playing video games, listening to music etc.

What we focus on shapes our reality impacting who we are, and who we aspire to be.

  • A study out of Pediatrics found that exposure to images in magazines strongly impacted girls perception of their weight and shape; 69% felt magazine pictures strongly influenced their idea of the perfect body and 47% wanted to lose weight because of the pictures.

  • Approx. 50% of boys and girls age 6 – 12 years old are dissatisfied with their bodies.

  • A study reported in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that approx. 78% of 17 year-old girls are dissatisfied with their bodies.

  • Boys are only now being extensively included in body image research and therefore results range; approx. 15-50% of adolescent boys are dissatisfied with their bodies.

  • A survey by the Canadian Centre for Drug-Free Sport found 2.8% of students in grade 6 or above had used anabolic steroids.

  • The number of cosmetic procedures for women has increased over 471% from 1997.

  • More than $13.5 billion was spent on cosmetic surgery for men and women in 2015.

  • A survey of over 650, 13-18 year boys revealed the four biggest sources of pressures for boys to look good came first from friends (68%), then social media (57%), followed by advertising (53%), and celebrities (49%).


the Media is a profound influence on our attitudes and beliefs about what we can and cannot do, or who we should and should not be.

Impact on girls:

If you have been exposed to mainstream media then it is not surprising to learn that girls and women are unrealistically depicted: Women are photoshopped, surgically enhanced, portrayed with unattainable bodies, ethnically homogenous, and are often not over the age of 40 years old. Women are valued for their physicality and sexuality.

Impact on boys:

Over the last decade there has been an increased focus to understand boy’s body image as boys are reporting increased concerns over what it means to look and act like a male. In media, men are increasingly sexually objectified, depicted with unrealistic muscular body types, and portrayed as powerful characters with little capability or interest in emotional or relational issues.

Bottom line:

Both girls and boys grow up seeing limiting portrayals of what femininity and masculinity encompasses. The unrealistic depictions we see in media are the norm in our Western culture and we are being negatively affected mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.