Findings

Body image is not always an individual experience, often, we are most self-conscious of how we look when we are being looked at or we imagine we are being looked at. Our participants talked about four kinds of looking that made them self-conscious:

  • ‘real’ looks: looking up and seeing someone looking at you
  • ‘imagined’ looks:  feeling or imagining being looked at, for example, when coming into a busy room.
  • ‘looks by proxy’:  seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes; for example, shops that put larger sizes separately made our participants feel like the shop saw them differently.
  • ‘own’ looks: doing the looking themselves – either looking at other girls and comparing themselves or looking at themselves and disliking parts of their body.

We used different activities to explore how we might retell these stories so that the participants could think about their experiences differently, so that they could feel better about themselves.

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