Brits and body image
November 25th, 2021, Rishad Dsouza

Brits and body image

As cosmetics firm Lush draws back its social media presence on mental health grounds, a YouGov Profiles study shows that consumers in Britain are likelier to be unhappy with their body image than happy.

Two in five (43%) people say they are either “not very happy” or “not happy at all” with their body image. By comparison, only three in ten (30%) of Brits said they are “very” or “fairly” happy.

YouGov Profiles, which collects data on an ongoing basis, allows us to explore how different sections of society within Britain feel about the subject. Here we focus on a generational breakdown of the data.

Consumers of the Silent Generation are most likely to feel happy about their body image, with two in five (39%) consumers in that bracket indicating the same. Silent Generation members are also the likeliest to not feel strongly either way, with three in ten saying they are neither happy nor unhappy with their body image (31%). This ambivalence about body image rises steadily with age, rising from 17% among Gen Z consumers.


The group that follows next in terms of being happy with their body image is at the other end of the age spectrum. One third (34%) of Gen Z consumers indicate they are content with the way they perceive their body.

The happiness levels dip to the lowest among Gen X members. Just over a quarter of this age group (27%) report feeling happy about their body image and almost 47% of them say they are not happy. This level of happiness with body image is similar to that of Millennials (29%).

There is also a significant difference in how men perceive their body image compared to women. A third of all British men (34%) say they are happy with how they look, but that number drops seven percentage points among women (27%). One in two women (50%) say they feel unhappy about their body image compared to just 36% of men who feel that way.

Another variable on YouGov Profiles looks at how advertising influences body image perception. In Britain, women (43%) are significantly likelier than men (25%) to agree with the statement “advertising affects how I perceive my body image”. In a soon-to-be-published piece, we explore the topic in more detail and on a multi-market scale.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.