Weight Watchers has released a new study in the UK that says 60 percent of British women and 34 percent of British men admit they avoid looking at themselves in the mirror when undressing.
A fifth (21 per cent) of those surveyed went as far as to say they never look at themselves naked citing a dislike for their body as the reason why (75 per cent).
Over 2,000 men and women were questioned to mark the launch of the September edition of the Weight Watchers magazine – The Naked Issue. In it, six females and three males posed naked to celebrate their new-found confidence. The shoot aimed to counteract the unhealthy body image portrayed by models and the heavily retouched images of celebrities the public are typically faced with in fashion adverts and magazines; instead promoting healthy, strong and happy bodies.
The Naked Issue comes as public pressure calls on mainstream media and advertising to feature and celebrate a diverse range of bodies.
EARLIER THIS YEAR, WOMEN’S HEALTH MAGAZINE ANNOUNCED IT WOULD BAN THE PHRASE “BIKINI BODY” ON ITS COVERS.
The American version of Weight Watchers Magazine also had their own Naked Issue earlier this year.
The research also found that a lack of body confidence is affecting British sex lives with over two thirds (67 per cent) of people saying they are ashamed of their bodies, and over a quarter of women admitting they only have sex with the lights off or avoid it entirely (27 per cent). 38 per cent think their partner would not find them as attractive if they saw them naked.
Over half of all respondents (60 per cent) agreed they would not feel comfortable being naked in front of strangers and male respondents were more comfortable in front of their partners than women (66 per cent were confident versus 46 per cent).
Young women are more comfortable being naked amongst friends than older women with five per cent of 25-34 year olds feeling very comfortable versus only two per cent of women over the age of 55. Women aged 45 to 54 are so shy in front of their friends that they reported being 60 per cent more comfortable being naked with their beauty therapist.
40 per cent of women said images in magazines and a focus on celebrities led to them feeling a dislike for their own bodies. 15 per cent of men also felt under pressure by the body images portrayed in magazines.
“WE HOPE THAT SHOWING AND CELEBRATING HEALTHY, STRONG, ‘REAL’ BODIES WILL INSPIRE PEOPLE TO FEEL MORE CONFIDENT ABOUT THEIR OWN BODY SHAPE.”
Despite 42 per cent of women admitting that they have never once felt comfortable naked, almost a fifth of those surveyed (17 per cent) felt they would be happy to take part in a tasteful naked photo shoot. Male respondents were far more confident in getting their kit off for the camera, with over a third (34 per cent) feeling happy to take part in a shoot.
“It is worrying that so many people feel unhappy or ashamed of their bodies. We hope that showing and celebrating healthy, strong, ‘real’ bodies will inspire people to feel more confident about their own body shape,” said Helen Renshaw, Editor of Weight Watchers
“The idea of the Naked Issue was developed because in the world of women’s consumer magazines, the September edition is traditionally all about the new fashion season and is the most influential issue of the year. We love fashion as much as the next person, but what is more interesting than clothes is what is going on in our heads – and how we feel about our bodies.
“Our unique, holistic approach to weight management encourages men and women to feel empowered to lead healthier lives without focusing purely on weight and to build a positive relationship between food, mind and body for good.
“In addition to our six female members featuring in the September edition, our three male members will be appearing in a separate feature in the October issue. We could not be more delighted with the results and hope women, and men, are as inspired by our fabulous members as we are.”
For more information on Weight Watchers visit them on the web.