The Bishop of Gloucester visited Kingsholm Church of England Primary School in Gloucester and spent some of that time speaking to 12 children about body image and whether they felt pressure to look a certain way.
Bishop Rachel has been trying to draw public attention to the unhappiness of many young people, rooted in their dissatisfaction with their physical appearance; this unhappiness is affecting their mental health.
She said: “I have been listening to young people talk about the pressures on them to look a certain way. I’ve heard those feelings of self-worth linked to what’s on the outside and I’ve been encouraging a looking-within to discover personal value and beauty. There’s something seriously wrong about the messages out there regarding identity and value #liedentity.
“Some of the things the children talked about at Kingsholm were quite upsetting. When I asked them if they liked the way they looked, the comments were all about how they wanted to change themselves; to be skinnier, taller and different. Yet there was a noticeable difference with these 11 and 12 year olds, to the older children I have spoken to. They were able to talk openly about the attributes they admire about each other, their friends and those they loved, something that the teenagers had found challenging.
“I reminded them that each of them had the power to make a difference and to change the messages given out about what ‘perfect’ is. I hope that as they transition into secondary school they keep that confidence of being able to be honest about how they feel and open about what they admire in others. I also hope that they keep with them my message that they are all special, made in God’s image, loved and valued.”
Watch the video of Bishop Rachel’s visit at https://youtu.be/bQWC0dej6P4