Friday 8 April 2022

Being You: Body Image Book For Boys Review (Teenage and Young Adult Readers)~ Sent for review.

Cambridge University Press has published possibly the world's first body image book for older boys age 12+, and I've been sent a copy to review. We are becoming very used to the idea that teenage girls struggle with their body image, but in our media obsessed world, boys do too. In fact around 1/4 of young people with eating disorders are male. Being You looks at how the male body and mental image changes, and restores the confidence which the modern world can very quickly erase. 

Being You The Body Image Book For Boys book cover

The authors of Being You are Dr Charlotte Markey, a pioneer on body image research and author of bestselling The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless (2020), and Daniel Hart, a psychologist and father of boys. I am a mother of 5 boys myself.

Being You: Body Image Book For Boys is bright, bold and has illustrations throughout by Douglas N. Zacher. Text is broken into chunks, and you can dip in and out, it's not intended as a 'sit down and read through' book. The language is very accessible, and as you might imagine, very blunt at times, covering topics such as masturbation, sexuality, eating disorders, 'bulking up', plastic surgery, depression, alcohol and substance abuse. 

Body image book for teenage boys contents chapters

At the back is a huge glossary of terms used, and frankly that alone is a very useful tool for helping young people have the language to explain themselves and their worries.

Recent studies show that:

75% of adolescent boys say they are dissatisfied with their bodies
A third of teen boys are trying to gain weight or “bulk up”
Many boys equate 'muscularity' with 'popularity'
Almost 40% of teen boys have used (clinically untested) supplements like protein powders
Awareness of media ideals can lead to increased eating concerns in boys
Body dissatisfaction in boys can have far-reaching consequences, including eating disorders, over-exercising, supplement and substance use, impaired social relationships, anxiety and depression.

As one of our own older children struggled with body image and spent time receiving help to find their peace, taking a look through this book was something very personal to me. Firstly, it is incredibly positive. Being You is full of support and solutions, not criticism. It tells readers how to spot harmful or unhealthy behaviours before they become a problem, and what would be a better thing to do instead. It doesn't belittle anyone who is struggling, it explains that you aren't alone, you're actually very normal, and here's how to cope with your feelings and how to make it better. 

Inside page boys body image book review

Throughout the book are first hand accounts, real stories and examples, questions and professional answers. It's incredibly easy to read and very 'chatty'. It also dispels a lot of myths which young people hear and believe, setting readers back on a better track to achieve the outcomes and end results they are hoping for. 

Although Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys is written for and speaks directly to boys 12+, it has a lot to offer adults, including parents and professionals who work with young people. It has the language to help you discuss any issues, and clear pathways to support your young people in the right way.

body confidence for teenage boys book review

I really like this book. I think it has a heck of a lot to offer and when I left it purposefully on the table, all 3 of my young men living here picked it up and had a browse - as did their Dad. It is attractive, accessible and clear, and therefore actually useful. It can be hard to get young men to read anything, let alone anything which discusses feelings and emotions, but Being You approaches from an angle and is never soppy. It's a pat on the back and a chat while you have a football kickabout, rather than a big hug and a cry. It works incredibly well, and I think has something helpful to offer to most young men.

Body Image book for boys quote "it takes courage to grow up and be who your really are"

Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys by Dr Charlotte Markey with Daniel Hart and Douglas N. Zacher was released on 7th April 2022, and it's a big book with 162 pages, but not intimidating. Large scale 'easy to flick through' paperback, £9.99, available now at bookshops including Amazon (affiliate link).

We were sent our copy of Being You for review. Amazon links are affiliate, which means I earn a few pence if you buy through my link, but you don't pay any more. I do not charge a fee for book reviews, so it helps keep the website running. 

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