The Effect of Social Media

Sage Smith, Staff Writer & Artist

Magazines and television are often blamed for portraying an ideal body image that causes people to question their looks and lose confidence in themselves. Young women, in particular, are high users of social networking sites and post more photographs of themselves on the internet than do men.

Think about it, how often have you compared yourself to a Victoria Secret Angel? I have more than enough times. Many women believe they have to starve themselves to get that “ideal” body that Vogue and Covergirl say you need. The tiny waist, dainty wrist with long skinny fingers, very defined collarbones, cheekbones that don’t need contour, and let’s not forget the legendary thigh gap. The truth is this is killing the young women who obsess herself with this ideal body nonsense.

An interview conducted by BBC explains the suffering that women put themselves through. “Kelsey Hibberd, from Southend, remembers her years at secondary school as being miserable. She intentionally kept her Facebook friends to a minimum because she knew they were the ones who wouldn’t pick on her.
“It was all about my body and how I looked,” Kelsey Hibberd says. “I’d always been tall, and I was a bit podgy too,” she said.”No one seemed to notice at primary school, but then in Year 7, everyone started. Everyone started pointing at me, noticing things, making me think I was ugly and not special.”

She became increasingly conscious of even tiny things such as the shape of her eyebrows and size of her forehead. “I would have been subject to much more abuse if I’d had more friends on social media,” she said.

Kelsey describes the bullying she experienced between the ages of 11 and 16 as “absolutely awful”. “It was all about my body and how I looked.”

I am not saying that social media is the cause of these problems but there is a very strong link between the two. One influences and affects the other in a very impacting way; social media is always in our face, it’s is right there at a click of a button. There really no getting rid of it. Out of habit, we look at all the things the world is posting, and a lot of it body image; it’s our choice if we take all that body image nonsense personally or if we just think “wow that is a nice body” and throw it out of our brain. Time magazine said, “Psychologists found robust cross-cultural evidence linking social media use to body image concerns, dieting, body surveillance, a drive for thinness and self-objectification in adolescents.”

So what can you do to try and avoid this?

Talk to your parents about how you feel about yourself if you aren’t really loving who are and what you look like. Change who your role models are. If your role model is a VS angel that probably
isn’t the best person to look up to. Look up to someone who has good morals and is accepting to themselves and others. There is absolutely no need to dwell on having a tiny waist and thigh gaps, it is unrealistic. Love yourself and who you are. You are beautiful.