Written evidence submitted by Miss M Baglow (MISS0044)

The impact of poor body image

              Who is particularly at risk of poor body image? (groups protected by the Equality Act)

Children and adolescents who don’t conform to the stereotypes that society expects of their sex are at risk of experiencing poor body image. This is especially the case for older teenagers who are same sex attracted [protected characteristic of sexual orientation].

              What contributes to poor body image?

Books and teaching materials giving children the message that a boy who likes dressing up in fairy dresses is really a girl or a girl who prefers short hair and tractors is really a boy. This is very confusing message for children. These books are being promoted in UK schools.

              What are the long-term effects of poor body image on people?

The long-term effects of children hearing that they can be ‘born in the wrong body’ can have devastating implications on their long-term physical and mental health.

Surely better to provide intensive support for children to feel comfortable in their own skin than to change their bodies with lifetime consequences.

Around half of the children who identify as transgender are on the autistic spectrum. Identifying as transgender is a form of poor body image whereby you feel extreme unhappiness or distress with your body. Many of these children also experience poor mental health.


June 2020