What is body image and why is it important?

Body image is how you view your own body (in the mirror or in your mind), how you feel about your physical appearance and how you think others perceive your looks.

A positive body image can help you feel confident and comfortable in your own skin.

What affects body image?

Sometimes it can be challenging to like the way you look. Many things can affect how you feel about your body:

  • Puberty: young people experience a lot of changes during puberty and it can take time to adjust. You might feel awkward about your looks or focus too much on imperfections.
  • Society: popular culture, including movies, music videos, magazines and social media tends to portray flawless bodies that are very thin. These images are often digitally modified and often depict unrealistic or unhealthy body image.
  • Peer pressure: you might feel pressured to look and dress a certain way to fit in with your friends and be accepted.
  • Bullying: if you’re teased or bullied about your appearance — even by well-meaning friends and family members — it can hurt your body image.

Why does body image matter?

Feeling badly about your body can affect your self-esteem and change your behaviour in unhelpful ways. For example, you might:

  • avoid social situations
  • not speak your mind to avoid calling attention to yourself
  • not feel confident about expressing your uniqueness
  • avoid activities, like sports, that expose your body

Need more information or support? You can contact Kids Help Phone 24/7.