More than 70 per cent of young women in Hong Kong are unhappy with their bodies

Nicholas Hsu

Of more than 1,000 women surveyed, a huge majority think they are too fat

Nicholas Hsu |

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The study found that a third of young women are affected by male evaluation of their bodies

More than 70 per cent of young women in Hong Kong think they are too fat, according to a survey conducted by a youth policy think tank.

The survey, compiled by the MWYO surgery, collected the views of 1,010 women aged 16-24. Of those surveyed, only 37 per cent were satisfied with their appearance. In particular, 41 per cent said they were unhappy with their facial features, including skin tone and quality. And, 40 per cent were unhappy with the shape of their nose.

The study’s findings come as photo-editing apps to alter a person’s appearance grow ever more popular.

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Cindy Lau, research and programme director for MWYO, said that while editing your appearance in a photo can improve your self-esteem, it can be detrimental to your overall happiness and well-being.

“While some people use selfies to make memories or connect with friends, others edit selfies to seek validation from others or feel good about themselves,” she said.

The survey also found that those with a higher than average body mass index (BMI) typically take almost twice as many selfies (7.2) before posting one, compared to the average of 4.2 selfies.

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Lau Ming-wai, founder of the MWYO think tank and vice-chairman of the Youth Development Commission, cautioned against drawing unnecessary conclusions from the results.

The study recommended that the government include media literacy education in school curriculums. Lau Ming-wai said that Hong Kong is trailing far behind countries like Sweden and Britain when it comes to media literacy.

“Hong Kong society is very outmoded; all educators and government officials do is just tell students to use less social media. This is not effective.”

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge  

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