This week we've been talking body image after we conducted a study to see what it means to you, then we shared the facts with YouTube sensation, LukeIsNotSexy (Luke Cutforth) and asked him what he thought of body image, read all below.
"I am not perfect. I am not always happy, always content or always comfortable in my own body. But I should be. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years working with NCS, it’s that everybody (EVERYBODY!!!), no matter how perfect they may seem to others, has something they’re insecure about in themselves - something they wish they could change.
"While this fact may, on the surface, seem like a sad statement about the condition of humanity, my hope is that it brings us together; if everybody feels the same, it follows that I am not the problem, and there’s something strangely reassuring about that. In part, social media is to blame. The platform (the internet) on which I chiefly exist has created an echo chamber of perfection. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. we are bombarded with notifications from people who, from our perspective, are more perfect than ourselves. They’re everything we wish we could be and more and the fact is that 58% of teens surveyed by NCS said they had suffered feelings of jealousy, negativity or insecurity at the hands of social media. The internet, while a source of insecurities, can also help provide the solution. Through it, we little people can join, collectivise and gain a voice to shout ‘I AM PERFECT THE WAY I AM’. We can discuss our perceived flaws, how we overcame them and tell each other that we are wonderful. That is what I am trying to do here and with my video on YouTube.
"Throughout my life I’ve experienced several insecurities with my body. It started at the tender age of 8 when my sister goaded me for my ginger hair after she was annoyed that I’d won a family football game. Over the next few years, steadily bullying for my orange mop grew until one day I dyed my hair while moving to a new school. This act, while miniscule compared to the levels other people go to to hide their naturally given appearance, was, at age fourteen, me giving in to my insecurity to gain the respect of people who do not love me. The following years saw me consider a rhinoplasty (nose job), intense gym obsessions, feelings of insecurity about my face and hair and body. 21% of girls and 10% of boys surveyed by NCS consider cosmetic treatments before the age of eighteen, and I was one of them.
"Parts of the internet are already providing the solution. I am speaking out on behalf of boys and girls everywhere to try show them the importance of health, not weight. Of intelligence, not looks. Of pride, not hiding. My wonderful friend Dodie recently showed me that beauty gurus have been especially proactive in this. While they do show an image of perfection through their pristinely made up faces, many also, as part of their videos, show their unmade up skin, displaying vulnerability and human imperfection to a tender young audience. This, to the next generation, has the potential to undo years of damage done by the modelling and pop-star industries who portray their biggest stars is infallible and naturally, inaccessibly perfect.
"It is for these reasons that I am optimistic for the future of social media, for body image and for the work NCS is doing to help change the conversation.. You are wonderful in your own body; all that matters is that you strive to be healthy, happy, rounded and the best version of you that you can be! You can see my video on this page which goes into more detail on the specifics of my own body image issues as well as tidbits of advice for those struggling with their own. And I want to end by thanking you for reading this, and NCS for giving me a voice and platform to share my story and views.
"NCS offer once in a lifetime experiences for 16-17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland. This year they campaign under the slogan CHANGE YOUR SUMMER. I am proud and honoured to work with them."
Thank you Luke for your post, and if you want to hear more of what Luke has to say about body image and body confidence, check out his latest vlog here.