Teenage pressures: Body image

Home learning focus

Discover more about the pressures teenagers can experience about body image.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos looking at perceptions and pressures for teenagers around body image

  • an activity to help you think about body image issues


This film looks at the unrealistic nature of media images and the time and effort required to take one 'hot' shot.

Presenter DJ Goldierocks volunteers herself as a model and guide to demonstrate the wardrobe, hair and makeup involved in preparation for a photoshoot.

Watch to get an insider's view of the photographic tricks and computer techniques used to create a 'perfect' magazine image.

The time, effort and trickery that has gone into generating these images demonstrates why we really shouldn't be comparing ourselves to them.

How media can manipulate our perceptions of body image

This second video demonstrates the potential negative effects of beating ourselves and others up about our bodies.

TV personalities Melissa Suffield and Radzi Chinyanganya conduct their Bright Body Talk Test at a secondary school in Bristol.

They ban negative body teasing and encourage young people to emphasise their positive qualities.

They look at how commonly we engage in body bullying directed at ourselves, and how this might affect our body image.

Can banning body talk improve the way young people feel about themselves?

Watch the film to see how Melissa and Radzi tackle the subject.

Teenagers in a Bristol school discuss body image


Now you have watched the video clips why not have a think about your perceptions of body image?


Using what you have learned from watching the video clips come up with a plan for a school campaign about 'Bright Body Talk'.

See if you can use what you have learned to be more wary of images that you see in the media.

Have a look through magazines or social media feeds and list the ways that you think an image might have been changed. Write down the different ways you think an image or situation could have been manipulated.

Design a poster for the campaign and think about the key messages you would like to get across.

What slogans would you use? What imagery might you think about using on the poster? How would you make it interesting and eye-catching?

Where next?

There are more films you can explore to learn about the way that body image is perceived.

Body image and weight
Dr Mark Hamilton and other TV personalities explore issues around body image including the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity, the physical effects of being overweight and the healthy management of weight.

Media and body image
TV personalities give an insight into how images of celebrities are manipulated and controlled. The reality is a team of people behind the image, who create a 'product' used to sell things.

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.

Bitesize Daily lessons
Primary games
BBC Bitesize Support: Body image content