The Body Image Pledge has been created by the Be Real Campaign – a national movement of individuals, schools, businesses and charities, including YMCA, that is campaigning to change attitudes to body image and help us put health above appearance.

Its aim is to address body image anxiety – a critical health problem suffered by one in four people in the UK, which can ultimately cause low self-esteem and depression.

Research has shown that children as young as five are now worried about how they look: primary school age children have started dieting and appearance is the largest cause of bullying in schools (research referenced in Be Real Body Image Pledge).

What is the Body Image Pledge?

Developed with businesses, charities and subject matter experts, the Body Image Pledge is comprised of four parts, which set out a simple, straightforward language around how organisations and individuals can bring about responsible change in their approach to body image issues.

It aims to encourage collaborative working to bring about lasting cultural and behavioural change by calling for the responsible portrayal of body image in the advertising, fashion, media and music industries, as well as by other relevant organisations.

The four key principles are that industries should:

  • Reflect diversity
  • Reflect reality
  • Promote health and wellbeing
  • Promote the Pledge.

The Be Real Campaign is asking advertising, fashion, media and music industries and other organisations to make a commitment to publicly endorse and sign up to the Pledge.

If you are a business, charity, organisation or individual, you can sign up by contacting the Be Real Campaign team or #PledgeToBeReal on social media.

What is YMCA doing?

As a founding partner of the Be Real Campaign, YMCA has been extensively involved in the creation of the Body Image Pledge.

From our youth work we know that there is a growing pressure on young people to look a certain way. We believe industries have a responsibility to promote a healthy body image and reflect the true diversity of the population with all the different shapes, sizes, skin tones, ages, genders and ethnicities that make up our society today.

Nationally, YMCA is signed up to the Pledge, and a number of member YMCAs across England and Wales have also signed up individually in their local areas.

Read what YMCA England’s CEO, Denise Hatton, says about the Pledge in our press release.

Download the Be Real Body Image Pledge

How is Be Real supporting organisations to embrace body confidence?

Alongside creating the Be Real Body Image Pledge, a Toolkit and Handbook have been provided to enable organisations to interpret and adopt the Body Image Pledge’s four principles.

The Toolkit

The Toolkit highlights how organisations have embraced diversity in their campaigns and embedded Be Real within their communications.

Download the Be Real Body Image Pledge – Toolkit

The Handbook

The Handbook goes into detail on the four principles which make up the Body Image Pledge.

Download the Be Real Body Image Pledge – Handbook