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Body image

image; genetics; body type; body; body image; size; shape; fat; thin; look; tall; short; beauty; ugly. ;


What do you look like?

Lots and lots of people worry about what they look like and what other people think of how they look. Are you one of those?

Do you think that you're too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too pale, too dark, too hairy, too… whatever?


What would you rather look like?

  • The actors on TV or the movies?
  • The models in magazines?
  • Your sports hero or heroine?
  • Someone you know?

Guess what?
All of these people probably felt like they were 'too something' when they were growing up. Many of them probably still do.

Why do you look the way you do?

genesThere are 2 main reasons why you look the way you do.

The most important reason is genetics.

Mostly people look like other people in their family.

When you were conceived (when mum got pregnant) the ovum (egg) from mum and the sperm from dad carried genes, which are a kind of plan of how to grow a person. These genes got together to make a new person---you.

Look around your family - mum, dad, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins. You all have some of the same genes because you are related.

Your body type will be the same as some other people in your family, although it is possible that you may be more like your grandparents than your parents or brothers and sisters.

  Are you tall or short? skeleton
cartoon body shapes   What shape are you?
cartoon body shapes cartoon body shapes
Do you have wide shoulders or a narrow chest?

People are all different shapes and sizes. Adults who look entirely different can weigh the same.

Find that hard to believe? Well it's true!

It depends on their bone structure and body type.

How you look after yourself.

  • What if 2 kids got new bikes for their birthdays?
  • One kid really looked after his bike and the other didn't.
  • A few months later you would easily be able to see which bike had been looked after wouldn't you?

That's a lot like looking after yourself.

  • Eating the right food.
  • Keeping yourself clean.
  • Exercising.
  • Sleeping/resting.
  • Playing/having fun.
  • Working/keeping active.
  • Sharing and caring.
  • Wearing clean clothes and shoes.
  • Keeping yourself safe from harmful cigarette smoke.
  • Being positive and happy.

All of these things are important. They make you feel good and look good. Stressing out about the way you look or wanting to look like someone else is not going to help you feel good.

What should you look like?

  • Find out about your body type.
  • Find some pictures of your parents when they were younger if you can.
  • Who do you most look like in your family?
  • Talk to that person if you can and ask what they were like at your age.
  • Ask if you can talk to your doctor if you are really worried about the way you look. She will be able to tell you if you are in the 'normal' range for your body type, age and height, or whether there is something you could try to change. Our topic Weight - how much should you weigh? may be helpful too.
body image

How would you like to look?

body image

Have you ever made a collage?

You know, cut out lots of different pictures and pasted them together to make a different picture?body image

Have a go. Find pictures of the body shape you'd like, the arms, the legs, the nose, eyes, chin, hair and so on that you'd really like. Paste them all together and see what you get!

Well at least you will have a good laugh.

Some people use plastic surgery to 'improve' their bodies and faces. I guess many of you will know of some famous people who have done this. Many of them rather look the same don't they?

People are meant to be different because each person has genes that are different to everyone else, except identical twins. Even they often look a bit different to each other because of what has happened to them since their separate bodies were first formed (their environment has been a little bit different).

If we all looked the same it would be a very strange world we would live in wouldn't it?

What is beauty or good looks?

All through history people have decided that some people are more beautiful or handsome than others are.

Look in an art gallery at some of the beautiful people who were painted or sculpted in the past. Do you think they are beautiful?

Even today in different parts of the world people have different ideas of what a beautiful person looks like.

body imageBeauty may be:

  • Having really small feet.
  • Having a really long neck.
  • Having a really huge bottom lip.
  • Having a really thin body.
  • Having a really fat body.
  • Having no hair.
  • Having lots of hair.

You see people are different and different times and places see good looks differently. What you think is attractive someone else might not like.

Things are not always what they seem

Nowadays with TV, movies and magazines the whole world gets to see what the producers, advertisers and editors think is beautiful.

What we don't see is that clever photographers have made these people look more beautiful by using lighting effects and tricks with developing and printing the picture to make it look like someone has perfect skin, hair, teeth etc.

Some people make a living as 'doubles' for body parts of movie stars. You may know that when a movie star has to do something dangerous in a movie then a 'stunt' man or woman actually does the stunt and the close-ups of the real actor are added in.

Well there are body doubles too. Hands, feet, legs, bodies. All used so that we will think that the actor or actress is just perfect. But they're not. Just like you or me they wish they had different legs , or different hair…..

media body images

If people don't feel good about themselves, they don't think that they look beautiful.

Talking about the movies you will notice that not everyone in a movie is beautiful or cool looking. All the people in the movies are actors and most of them look just like 'ordinary' people. If they can get jobs in the most glamorous industry in the world without looking like a 'big movie star' then does what you look like really matter?

I don't think so!

A smiling happy person has a lot more friends than an unhappy grumpy person no matter what he or she looks like.  Look at our topic Being happy and learn how to build happiness into your life.

Dr Kate says

Dr Kate
"Everyone looks different on the outside. Keeping clean, healthy and active makes you feel good about yourself. If you feel good about yourself you will look your best. We can't all look like film stars. Not many of them do either…in real life!

Fashions change every season. Most kids are keen to look like the other kids that they know so that they 'fit in' with the rest. But as you grow up you will learn what hair style, clothes, shoes, etc you look your best in. Looking good makes you feel good, confident and happy. Just the kind of person that others want to know. So be yourself!!!"

Body is important, look after it.
Only you can be yourself.
Do you like your body?
You should be yourself not someone else.

I know how to look after myself do you?
Most people try to be 'super stars'.
A superstar is not always what it seems.
Give your body the right food.
Everyone should be the best they can be.

Big or little fat or thin,
A body's a body what shape it's in.
Long or short thin or round,
Everyone's legs just reach the ground.
Travel for metres travel for miles,
Everyone likes someone who smiles.


How boring this world would be
If everyone's eyes were the colour of the sea.
If everyone's hair were the same shade of brown
If you looked around and only saw frowns
What a boring world this would be.

By Sarah
Be who you are.
Only you can be you.
Don't try to be someone you're not.
You are you and no-one else

By Tara

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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