Comparing themselves with seemingly real-life body-beautiful photos on television and social media is a problem common in young girls. It can create body insecurities, which flow into feelings of worthlessness and unlovability. But, as writer Carly Gibbs discovers in the second story in her series, body image struggles aren't just for females.
It is not just girls these days who are consumed by an ideal body image.
The more athletic you are, the more popular you're inclined to be, says teenager TJ Paul.
The Year 12 student and co-facilitator of youth group Boys to Men Rotorua, says one of the biggest issues worrying young males is "body physique".
Common insecurities are "I'm not tall enough; I don't have muscles".
"If a boy feels like he's oversized, he doesn't feel like he fits in," the 17-year-old basketballer says, explaining that at 1.85m tall and 70kg, he's at times felt the opposite - "too skinny".
No boy wants to be "out of shape", which can lead to being bullied.
He started volunteering for Boys to Men, with its members aged 11 to 19, because he "has a heart" for young people and talking through the mechanics of their issues.
"We offer a confidential space. So many kids our age can't open up about their body size or the way they look because so many people judge them."
Body pressure is something Enlighten Education New Zealand director Vicky Pond Dunlop knows all about.
She runs a wellbeing and resilience programme for girls aged 11 to 18 in schools throughout New Zealand, and hopes to introduce a boys' version of the programme soon. The programme is already running in Australia.
She says boys aren't viewed or surveyed as much as girls but it's important for boys to be recognised as needing support as well, with hyper-masculinity a "scourge" on society.
"Our male sports stars are idolised and held up as role models because of their physique and their perceived physical prowess.
"Boys are growing up feeling they too need to have the perfect physique, and teen boys are castigated for either being puny or for being overweight, which is a difficult path to navigate.
"Boys need to be supported to have the conversations that matter."
Teenage gym-goer Zac isn't trying to impress anyone but himself, but being fit does give him confidence.
"Two years ago I didn't really care about getting bigger muscles or more defined abs, but now I see the progress – the veins popping in my underarms for instance – and I really like it."
He exercises five days a week playing a range of sports and going to the gym.
He and his older brother have inherited their mother's love of fitness, and although she doesn't believe they do it for looks, she thinks it must play some part as they do show off sometimes: "Check out their progress in the mirror, and say they want abs and big legs."
Zac, whose name has been changed for privacy, used to be a fussy eater but he now realises the importance of nutrition.
"Exercise can become a bit of an addiction, that's for sure, but at least it's not an unhealthy one.
"It could be booze or drugs, you know. I'd rather see them keep a focus on health and fitness than gaming all the time as we've had that too in the past. They lost interest in Fortnite, thank goodness."
Caring about your health and appearance is a good thing, says former New Zealand Warrior and professional rugby union player for the Kiwis and Manu Samoa Henry Fa'afili; so long as you're guided by supportive friends and mentors.
Fa'afili is Tauranga Boxing Academy's head coach and mentor. He works with boys aged 9 to 15-plus, and teaches young males that what you look like is "not a competition between you and your brother next to you".
Likewise, Instagram and fitness supplements should both be treated with caution: "It's okay to be a copycat, just make sure you're copying the right cat.
"As a professional athlete growing up, we were given protein powders for performance, and there are benefits of that, but you can probably get the same amount of protein in a good steak or chicken," the 40-year-old says.
"I try to teach them that behind all these Instagram photos, there's hours and years of hard work." Get fit and internal and external confidence will follow, he says, explaining that exercise can help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, and enhance mental performance in students' productivity.
"I'm a strong believer that if you're strong and fit, then your mind becomes strong and fit."
One size does not fit all
While we may not hear about body image concerns for boys as often as we do for girls, there's been a "massive shift" in the past decade, mental health advocate and barber Sam Dowdall says.
"When I first started barbering, to use hair product, males would use the word 'metrosexual' because they thought it said something about their sexuality," he recalls.
"Nowadays, we've got guys looking after themselves with moisturiser and exfoliants and it's saying that they care about their hygiene.
"We're starting to see a lot more opening of expression."
The 30-year-old who wore makeup as a teenager through the punk scene and copped "dissonance" for it, is about to front a major advertising campaign for sunglasses, while dressed in drag.
Better known as The Barter Barber for his travels around New Zealand getting men to talk about mental health, Dowdall, who tutors barbering at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, believes that body image pressure is different again, for LGBT tweens and teens.
"Young gay men can have some really big body dysmorphic issues with the culture that surrounds them. Identity comes into body issues a lot.
"When we don't have strong community support or we're trying to fit into another [group] as the outsider, we sometimes feel like we physically have to change ourselves."
In a recent New York Times article, pediatrician and author Cara Natterson wrote that to engage pubescent boys in conversation about their bodies, start by asking them questions, including about their experiences as emerging men in a culture often saturated with toxic masculinity; about their knowledge of what's actually happening to their changing bodies; about the pressures associated with body goals; about a scene they just saw in a show or an article they just read about a favourite athlete.
Start asking about qualities in men that point to character over physique, she said.
"So long as we balance offering them privacy with putting some kind of wedge in the closing door."
Addressing gender disparity will also help, says Bay of Plenty child and adolescent psychiatrist Joanne Bruce, explaining that there's still an acknowledgment of boys being less sensitive and emotional people.
"As adults, teachers, and parents, we talk to boys less about emotions compared to girls, and we feel that females are better at emotional talking than males - this is not true," she says.
Gender disparity makes it harder for boys to express their concerns about how they look or are perceived because it's seen as a "female domain".
"These older and unhelpful perceptions of the genders have left boys out in the cold a little with emotional talking, and actually more vulnerable to being isolated with their worries and feelings about themselves."
Tips for parents
• Talk to boys more about emotional events, their emotions, and model your own (appropriate) emotional talking.
• Be aware of how you talk about women and men in their presence. Phrases like "don't be a girl" or "stop being an old woman" create a gender bias we don't realise.
• Give boys permission to talk about all things without dismissing it.
• If you have serious concerns, contact your GP and/or your school guidance counsellor. Students can also contact Youthline: free call 0800 376 633, free text 234, or visit https://www.youthline.co.nz/body-image.html