Parishes and schools have been reminded of their important role in addressing issues youngsters have with their body image, amid growing concerns that many young people are being corrupted by TV shows such as Love Island.
“It’s a sad reflection on our modern society that young adults need to seek meaning and purpose in their lives in altering their body image, often through cosmetic surgery, in line with the messages of shows such as Love Island,” Ben Bano, Director of Welcome Me as I Am, which promotes mental health awareness in parish communities, told The Catholic Universe.
“In order to address this trend our parish communities and schools have an important role to play in developing a sense of belonging and self worth in young people which may help to prevent this desire in seeking the ‘perfect body’ at all costs.
“We sometimes need to be reminded that God’s love for each of us is unconditional whatever the appearance of our physical body,” he added.
Mr Bano’s call comes following Shadow health minister Paula Sherriff, Labour MP for Dewsbury, expressing concern at people seeking cheaper cosmetic procedures overseas, and highlighting the impact of Love Island and other mainstream programmes featuring young women who have already undergone such treatments.
Her remarks came during a parliamentary debate on body image and mental health.
Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative MP for Thurrock and a mental health minister, opened the debate warning of the “insidious culture” of reality television shows and their impact on people’s own body image.
She pointed out that while many of the participants on such shows are viewed as normal people they are in fact semi-professional celebrities who’ve undergone enhancements in an effort to be picked to go on such programmes.
Ms Doyle-Price warned society was “extremely unhealthy” when it came to body image and suggested it needs reminding that “there is no quick route to fame, fortune and success”, which she added should come as a result of “hard work”.
Meanwhile, Ms Sherriff said cosmetic surgery has “almost become normalised” before adding: “It’s very worrying that people are going overseas because they seek cheaper treatments when perhaps there are issues around regulation and other areas.
“But when you have mainstream television programmes like Love Island, of course, which shows girls as young as 21 who have already undergone plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery procedures, it’s hardly surprising that those watching these programmes will aspire to the same.”
Concluding, Ms Doyle-Price suggested the term “reality TV” should be challenged and changed to something more fitting, “because it is not reality TV. It is fantasy TV.”
Picture: Love Island logo (ITV Plc).