Body image perception on social media

Social media are an integral part of today’s society and while they might be great in many things, that’s not always the case!

As they continue to play a major role in our lives – more than 2.1 billion people have social media accounts, and there are 70 million photos and videos posted daily on Instagram. Research shows that they have a huge influence on body image especially affecting adolescent girls and young women.

There have been many positive outcomes, especially when social media are used in ways that promote positive and productive ideas in society, but they also tend to create a wrongful perception of beauty.

Living in the era of Instagram, the fact that fitness models and fashion bloggers are all over news feeds, it makes things much more difficult for peoples self-esteem and the perception of beauty.

The ubiquity of the thin ideal is not a good thing. Not that there is anything with being thin but – we should be celebrating women bodies of all shapes and sizes. 

In a society that promotes unrealistic body ideals, it is challenging to not get caught up in comparing yourself to these perfectionist standards. It is unfortunate that the emphasis on appearance is spreading, and it is important to include a much greater range of appearances of what we as a society think of as ideal.

But also as important is; to make appearance and body ideal less important and less defining to women and girls.

Body image an increasing problem, is associated with a number of mental health outcomes including depression and anxiety but also may contribute to serious eating problems such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Approximately 1.25 million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders. While young women are most likely to develop an eating disorder, in particular those aged 12 to 20, anyone can develop an eating disorder.

So if you ever find yourself concerned about your body image ask yourself: “Is my perception of beauty distorted from the media exposure that glorifies the thin ideal that is unrealistic for most people to obtain living a healthy lifestyle?”

Never compare yourself with others and try to always feel comfortable in your own skin!

The Millennials

I just turned 21, I just got out of University, I haven’t got a job yet, I have no idea what I’m doing next, and I can’t stop thinking: “What now?” And no single answer feels satisfactory enough.

We are the generation who grew up, where almost every home had an internet connection and a computer, and basically after that everything changed. The way we work, we think and even how we feel about ourselves.

We live in a world where problems are not physical anymore but existential. The way technology helped us discover medicines that saved billion lives, and machines that reduced workers’ workload, it has also turned the existing problems into other problems.

Comforted by that, it seems like people have the desire to make themselves feel good. And merely, feel good about themselves.

 “Everything is fucked and I’m pretty sure it’s the internets fault” Mark Manson

Yep! I agree!
Don’t you?

The near-utopian level of optimism during the time of its rise, has turned it’s ability, to later dominate our lives. People then, saw greater empathy and understanding across nations, ethnicities, and lifestyles.

But why is it that in a world so connected we feel the loneliest? Because everyone on the internet has an opinion now. And opinion terrifies people. And you know what else terrifies people? Seeing everyone else happy when they feel they are not ‘happy enough’.

When our parents were younger, they didn’t have access to all this information. We do, and there’s a saying that: too much information is deadening. Our problems are that we are just overwhelmed from it, so in some sense we just basically don’t even know where to turn.

The internet was designed to give people information they need, but now we use it to find the information we want. Reports show that three billion people, around 40% of the world’s population, use online social media. That breaks down to around half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every minute.

Is it possible that what we brought in our lives has turned against us? Reports indicate that social media cause people stress, anxiety, mood changes, addiction, lower self-esteem, cause problems in relationships and cause the feeling of loneliness.

I’m not going to draw any strong conclusions, even though research points one way, like all things, social media affects people differently, depending on pre-existing conditions and personality traits.

I’m not saying that social media are universally a bad thing but the way society has changed, make sure you don’t let it go to your head.

“Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.” Mark Manson