Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Social media has a lot to answer for

Taking a selfie.
Taking a selfie.
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This week I’ve been in full TV prep mode as we launch into filming series six of Chatty Lasses.

It’s always a hectic time preparing for any chat-based show, but filming 12 episodes so closely together always brings that feeling of excitement.

Although there is lots of planning to do, I love it as it involves a lot of research into new and exciting topics that will be discussed on the show and used in interviews with guests. So this week I’ve been researching statistics on body image and self-confidence, an increasingly hot topic in the media.

While searching for some stats to use on the show, I was blown away by some of the studies and research outcomes I came across.

I knew that body confidence stats weren’t going to be good, after all we live in a world where heavily filtered selfies have become the norm and the media has piled on the pressure to be a certain weight and size.

Even with all of that firmly in my mind, I wasn’t prepared for some of the crazy stats that I uncovered.

One online poll revealed that 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and 80% off them feel insecure because of images they see in the media.

But it’s not just women who are having a hard time with their body image as I then went on to read that 25% of teenage boys have been teased about their weight!

When I finished my research I was left feeling shocked and, if I’m honest, really quite upset.

When on earth did it become OK to poke fun at someone because of how they look? It is quite simply unacceptable, and those dishing out such remarks should think at length about how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot.

It’s all too easy to assume that because someone is overweight, for example, that they must be lazy or greedy.

Now don’t get me wrong, this may be the reason why some people have become out of shape and unhealthy, but for the vast majority there are a whole host of underlying factors … so it’s time to stop being so judgmental, and that goes for those comparing the fluctuating weights of celebrities in magazines to those simply passing comments about people in the street.

I was always brought up to believe that you should never judge a book by it’s cover, and you should treat people how you wish to be treated … when did so many people forget this and lose the ability to be kind?

The reason that so many people feel unhappy with themselves and their appearance is because of what they see in the media (as the above statistics suggest) and while we can’t control what is printed and posted by big organisations, there are things that we can do to boost our own body confidence and that of others too.

First up, give yourself and others compliments. Let’s build each other up rather than tear each other down, and that includes the mental conversations we have with ourselves too.

Rather than looking in the mirror and having negative thoughts about ourselves, instead swap them for positive ones.

Social media also has a lot to answer for, but we don’t help ourselves by heavily filtering photographs and taking and deleting ten photographs of ourselves before choosing the one we wish to share on our Facebook or Instagram.

How about just taking a photograph, stop over analysing it and just share it. Be yourself and be proud of who you are and what you look like.

If we don’t make an effort to change these behaviours now, goodness knows how all of this will effect our kids when they are older!