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Four in five young women in Scotland held back by body image

Scottish Parliament and YWCA Scotland - Young Women Lead

Four in five young women in Scotland held back by body image

Four in five young women in Scotland say body image has held them back or negatively impacted their confidence, according to a new report from YWCA Scotland.

Finding that just under half of respondents said their body image had negative social implications, the study found body image had negatively impacted the relationships of 38 per cent of young women.

The survey follows the Young Women Lead 2018-19 parliamentary inquiry, which identified body image as a leading barrier for 16 to 30-year-old women in Scotland participating in sport and physical activity.

Releasing the Status of Young Women in Scotland report 2019, YWCA director Dr Patrycja Kupiec said: “Young women are shaping Scotland’s progressive future while battling with oppressive patriarchal structures, which tell us that the way we look dictates our worth.”

Overall, the survey of 380 young women found 80 per cent felt their body image had stopped them from doing something or negatively impacted their confidence and limited their life choices.

Meanwhile 64 per cent of young women said Instagram influenced the way they felt about their body and 45 per cent of the young women who took part in the survey felt their body image was influenced by celebrities and influencers.

Kupiec said: “I am delighted to be launching our fourth edition of the Status of Young Women in Scotland report, which offers another important snapshot into how young women in Scotland feel.  

“This research is a response to the changing context in which we present, share and discuss our lives in person and on digital platforms. It’s not a vanity project. Young women are shaping Scotland’s progressive future while battling with oppressive patriarchal structures, which tell us that the way we look dictates our worth. 

“Poor body image affects our health and wealth, distorts our relationships and limits our confidence. Unattainable ideals perpetuate inequality, absorb our time, energy and money, suck the joy from experiences with friends and set the tone for our engagement with the wider world. It’s time to break this vicious cycle for ourselves and future generations.”

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