Body image and social media

By Madison Ely
Staff Writer

Humanity has entered a digital age where everything can be posted, and streamed online with the press of a button.

While one can find everything from cute cat videos to embarrassing family photos online, many people find that their social media feeds are predominantly filled by bikini photos, workout videos, and snapshots of food.

What many of these photos don’t show, however, is the reality behind what they portray.

Over 80 percent of women hate the way they look, approximately 70 percent of women who are currently at a healthy body weight want to be thinner, and 58 percent of college women feel pressured to be at a certain weight.

While there are a variety of factors that contribute to these numbers, the biggest contributor of them all is linked to social media.

Susan Clements, a staff therapist at The University of Alabama’s counseling center, said “Women, especially now, have a tendency to go on social media and say to themselves ‘She is so much prettier than me,’ ‘I want to be as thin as her,’ ‘Why can’t my body be like that?’ Most of them don’t realize the women they see don’t look like that either in real life.”

Facetune, Retouch Me, and Airbrush are some of the most popular photo editing apps currently in the app store. With the ability to recolor, reshape, and erase anything in the image without completely distorting the image itself, these apps have made it harder for many women to recognize that what they are looking at isn’t reality.

Alexis Swell, a sophomore majoring in psychology at Shelton State, said “When on social mediait is easy to fall into the rabbit hole of seeing models and influencers posts where they seem to have what society deems as the perfect bodies, which aren’t unattainable.”

What claims to be the perfect body type tends to change based on what’s in style, or for that matter whose in style in the media. It seems that every year the ideal looks morph into something else making it harder to obtain and satisfaction in the way one looks.

Kirsten Grubb, a junior majoring in biology, said “Social media has caused me personally to have a bad outlook on my own body. I constantly compare myself to other women, which makes me become even more self conscious in the way that I look.”

The feeling of being self conscious, and even ashamed of the way you look is a feeling that most females are currently struggling with. It has taken such a toll that several social media icons have started to speak out about the toxic environment the online community has become.

“The fact that even the once over edited girls on social media are aware of how bad this issue has become should blow people away.”

Swell Said, “This is something that made me realize I needed to stop trying to compare myself to the photos uploaded online, and be happy in my own skin.”

Being happy with one’s body image is a task that is easier said than down but is obtainable. There are many things you can do to help create a positive body image. For starters, walking away from social media.

“My best suggestion to anyone who is struggling with body image is to illuminate the factors, feeding the problem,” Clements said. “In most cases not having access to social media has drastically increased one’s outlook on themselves.”

Those who are happy in the way they look have a healthier mental and physical outlook on how they view themselves as a whole.

It is important to realize that at the end of the day you can’t be anyone other than yourself, and the higher you view yourself the greater your overall health will become.