With new findings that more than a third of men are not body confident and it can have an impact on their mental health, Natalie Walker speaks to Lancashire DJ Tom Green about his role as a body confidence advocate.
Being a DJ for KISS, you would expect Tom Green to be full of confidence.
But the 24-year-old has openly spoken about his own self image issues and has become an advocate for body confidence with leisure operator Better.
He hopes that by raising more awareness, he can help others who are self conscious to be happy in their skin and see beyond what is perceived as beautiful on social media.
He reveals: “I speak up about body confidence because through my job, I have been given a platform and I think it’s right to use that in a way which is positive and can help.
“My advice would be to do what makes you happy and be comfortable in knowing what you are is enough.
“Confidence in all aspects comes from being comfortable, and that will only happen once you understand yourself and don’t judge your actions against those of other people.
“Just be you... and do things you enjoy.”
Tom admits he is concerned about the preened celebrity culture and rise of beautiful reality TV stars creating an unrealistic image to compere yourself to.
He says: “‘Good looking’ is focused much more on looks than any other aspect of what makes someone desirable, which is so toxic and detrimental. Most people can remember a relationship they got into purely out of physical attraction and how utterly wrong these matches can go.
“I feel so bad for kids these days growing up around social media platforms, as the strange and augmented reality they have helped to create can be incredibly negative.
“Peoples ‘reality’, their ‘norms’ and understanding of what is right and wrong is built from what they consume around them.
“And more and more these days that reality is constructed through social media, a reality which is completely distorted and does not represent truth. It’s edited, adjusted, photoshopped and contorted.
“People track their lives on likes and posts and comments and I think this has a massive effect on people’s mental health and their internal barometer of ‘worth.’
“Instagram has now started trailing dropping likes, from their platform, which is a great step and could have a hugely positive effect.”
Tom adds that shows like Love Island need to be more representative of different body types, saying: “I think broad representation is important and reality TV shows have that responsibility to show a cross section of the British public.
“We need to be super careful as what we raise as aspirational. We could be making the problem a lot worse when simple changes could have a positive effect.”
A survey by Better highlights that 51 per cent women say they are not body confident compared to 36 per cent of men in the UK.
Of these, 41 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men said their body confidence impacts their mental health.
Research also found that the 35-44 age group have been found to be the least confident age group.
Leon Popplewell, a Better community sports manager, said: “Figures like these highlight the work that needs to be done to get people to feel comfortable in their own skin. Whether this be through support from peers or working hard on mental and physical health, we need to be more open, honest and supportive, especially considering the impact modern media can have on our minds.”
To view the full survey, visit www.better.org.uk/lp/impact-of-body-confidence