Slant the BBC have put on a report about children's self image

(24 Posts)
FrimFrimMcWeasel Sun 24-Mar-13 16:34:20

I just read this article on the BBC and I found their angle interesting:

here

The piece is entitled "Boys suffer poor body image, say teachers". The piece then goes on to talk about a survey and the results, which include:

"In a survey of 693 members across the UK, the union found 78% thought girls suffered low self-esteem and 51% thought boys had low confidence in their body image.

In addition, 59% of staff said that worries about body image made female pupils anxious and 30% said it caused anxiety in male pupils.

Some 55% said that girls were "ultra-sensitive" to comments about their appearance and 27% said boys took comments to heart."

My immediate thought was the finding was that CHILDREN are suffering poor body image for various reasons, and that if there was a headline about one sex or the other it would be girls.

Why do you think they would take the line they did? It seems a little strange to me. Certainly there is a problem with boys body image (although not as bad as girls) and the ways that manifests can be different to in girls but if they wanted to write about that why not use some research that focussed on it specifically?

Can anyone help me understand why I feel what they have done is strange, or isn't it?

I also glanced at the top comments and one person had said something about that:

"Why on earth is the headline entitled "Boys suffer poor body image". After reading the article and studying the quoted percentages, it is clearly such a bigger problem for girls which is exactly what I would have expected." which has 6 negative votes.

Anyone have any thoughts?

kim147 Sun 24-Mar-13 16:42:16

It is strange - I hesitate to suggest this but I suppose people know girls suffer body image problems. That sounds awful but I think it's well known.

There is a lot to be said for the whole issue of body image and self esteem amongst children and the role of society.

Maybe they should have added "as well" to the headline.

FrimFrimMcWeasel Sun 24-Mar-13 17:04:45

Yes "as well" would have worked.

The way it has been presented seems to be rather dismissive of the problems that girls are facing, somehow.

I would have written about children, then gone into details regarding the stats for each sex.

Frankly I'm still shaking my head about the BBC's story on the false rape allegations study being all about the menz so I'm not surprised at their slant on this.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 24-Mar-13 19:02:14

Because if girls suffer poor body image, out doesn't matter, they're supposed to. If boys do, it matters.

Call me a cynic, I've completely given up on the BBC.

FrimFrimMcWeasel Sun 24-Mar-13 20:23:55

I think the BBC used to be a bit better than this, didn't it?

Or have I just started noticing more...

kim147 Sun 24-Mar-13 20:50:46

You start to notice a lot more things when your eyes are opened.

There's a lot to notice.

KRITIQ Sun 24-Mar-13 21:14:45

Sometimes, the "angle" on a story follows the "man bites dog" line - i.e. it becomes a "story" if there is something about it that's now what folks expect. So yes, we are often told that girls experience low self-esteem, so this study showed that boys also experience this . . . But, the problem is that in choosing to highlight the "unusual" aspect of a story, the story itself becomes misleading.

I saw that headline on a few websites and thought, "Oh, I must go look at this sometime and see what it's about," but didn't. The headlines themselves "planted" a message that there might be a study out there specifically on boy's self esteem.

Thing is, as has been stated, when you look at the actual story, it's clear that teachers were twice as likely to think girls had poor body image than boys - ditto they thought twice as many girls took comments about their appearance to heart than boys did. So yep, the headline is incredibly misleading.

But, how many people, like me, will not have read the story and just on some level absorbed the headline at face value? Interestingly enough, in the reader comments section, number 282, someone pointed out that the headline was misleading, and was downvoted for it. sad

Tabloid papers have always been known for being light on facts, high on sensation. Several articles from the BBC website, and in broadsheet papers lately make me think other media outlets are adopting just the same tactics.

Childrenofthestones Mon 25-Mar-13 11:14:06

FastidiaBlueberry said

*"Because if girls suffer poor body image, out doesn't matter, they're supposed to. If boys do, it matters.
Call me a cynic, I've completely given up on the BBC"*

I think the clue may be more in the word " News"
The whole world and her dog knows that girls have a body image problem and have known for years. It may be news to many that boys do too.

fubbsy Mon 25-Mar-13 12:02:02

Yes but the study didn't really measure children's body image in any way, it only measured what teachers think about the children's body image. What the teachers think may or may not be the same as what the children think/feel.

Even with all the percentages quoted in the article, I agree that it is light on facts, high on sensation.

MilgramsLittleHelper Mon 25-Mar-13 13:50:36

Absolutly the underlying methodology was flawed, however these studies are useful in promoting discussion and that in turn prompts further, more indepth, investigations. In all fairness boys (and mens) Mental Health provision has been second rate in this country- You only have to look at the male suicide figures to understand www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health4/suicides-in-the-united-kingdom/2011/stb-suicide-bulletin.htm. if this crude study highlights the dangers then it's a worthy excercise.

MilgramsLittleHelper Mon 25-Mar-13 13:53:29

Sorry seem to hit on a dodgy link..

from the ONS Publication

Statistical bulletin: Suicides in the United Kingdom, 2011

"Key points
•In 2011 there were 6,045 suicides in people aged 15 and over in the UK, an increase of 437 compared with 2010.
•The UK suicide rate increased significantly between 2010 and 2011, from 11.1 to 11.8 deaths per 100,000 population.
•There were 4,552 male suicides in 2011 (a rate of 18.2 suicides per 100,000 population) and 1,493 female suicides (5.6 per 100,000 population).
•The highest suicide rate was in males aged 30 to 44 (23.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2011).
•The suicide rate in males aged 45 to 59 increased significantly between 2007 and 2011 (22.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 2011).
•Female suicide rates were highest in 45 to 59-year-olds in 2011 (7.3 deaths per 100,000 population)."

fubbsy Mon 25-Mar-13 14:54:25

"These studies are useful in promoting discussion and that in turn prompts further, more indepth, investigations." Yes, presumabley that's what the ATL was trying to do by commissioning the study.

I still think the BBC article is sexist rubbish, though.

vesuvia Mon 25-Mar-13 15:19:31

Childrenofthestones wrote - "I think the clue may be more in the word " News"
The whole world and her dog knows that girls have a body image problem and have known for years. It may be news to many that boys do too."

MilgramsLittleHelper wrote - "boys (and mens) Mental Health provision has been second rate in this country- You only have to look at the male suicide figures to understand"

Quote from suicide statistics report :
"There were 4,552 male suicides in 2011 (a rate of 18.2 suicides per 100,000 population) and 1,493 female suicides (5.6 per 100,000 population).
•The highest suicide rate was in males aged 30 to 44 (23.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2011)."

More males commit suicide.

The OP of this thread is about a BBC report glossing over the finding that more girls than boys have a body image problem. Taking that approach to news, could we expect to see news reports about the suicide figures reported as "female suicide is a big social problem", ignoring the male statistics? I don't think many, if any, news reports would take the data from the ONS suicide report and focus on the female suicide rate. If they did, I think we'd quickly hear from the patriarchal backlashers. The news reports I've seen all focus on male suicide, because they are the majority of suicides.

If something bad happens to more women than men, news reporting or comment from the angle of "what about the men?" e.g. rape victims, can be widespread. If something bad happens to more men than women, e.g. suicide, news reporting or comment from the angle of "what about the women?" appears to be less common.

DaffodilAdams Mon 25-Mar-13 15:41:52

"If something bad happens to more women than men, news reporting or comment from the angle of "what about the men?" e.g. rape victims, can be widespread. If something bad happens to more men than women, e.g. suicide, news reporting or comment from the angle of "what about the women?" appears to be less common."

Thanks vesuvia. A lightbulb has just gone off in my head. It isn't just whataboutthemen that we are so familiar with it is lack of whataboutthewomen. Women's needs/issues getting squeezed out from both sides.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 25-Mar-13 21:45:25

Bump

FrimFrimMcWeasel Wed 27-Mar-13 19:53:20

I like your post vesuvia I think you are right.

ouryve Wed 27-Mar-13 19:58:44

It's not just the clumsy OMG headline - this line grates because it seems to frame things as if girls are being unreasonable, but oh, those poor boys...

Some 55% said that girls were "ultra-sensitive" to comments about their appearance and 27% said boys took comments to heart."

FrimFrimMcWeasel Wed 27-Mar-13 20:26:41

Yes I hadn't spotted that before.

Really not good is it.

MidnightMasquerader Wed 27-Mar-13 20:27:43

Male suicide rates are a thing of real concern - in my country too - but the BBC article is about body image. I know they're arguably in the same ballpark, both being in the mental health arena...

But I have to say that I agree with vesuvia - it still seems to be a way to say 'what about the men?' in a way that rarely happens with men's issues (what about the women?).

I feel awkward arguing this point, because suicide is such an incredibly sensitive issue, and the fact that it is happening disproportionately to boys/men is undeniably terrible. sad

FrimFrimMcWeasel Wed 27-Mar-13 22:18:01

Yes I agree they are a reason for concern. Also accidental deaths among young men (car related), and male on male violence and the specific problems for young men in some inner city areas.

However it's not a competition - and this particular issue of body image as you rightly point out affects girls more than boys so why present it in the way they have. Plus of course a linked (?) consequence - anorexia - has a terribly terribly high death rate, the worst of many psychological issues IIRC. So not something to just brush aside.

FucktidiaBollockberry Wed 27-Mar-13 22:38:21

But you know what, they never actually analyse the causes of all this male angst, do they?

If they ever do, they usually come up with the idea that it's all because women have some rights now.

Funny that.

FucktidiaBollockberry Wed 27-Mar-13 22:39:23

They never seriously really try to analyse the real cause of why some young men are so unhappy - what it is in our culture that so alienates them from themselves and the people around them.

FrimFrimMcWeasel Fri 29-Mar-13 11:50:36

Very true fucktidia.

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