“Put your best face forward” is a cliche which has taken on a whole new meaning in the age of social media. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have been criticized for promoting body shaming, and pro-anorexia communities. Instagram especially comes under fire as the “news feed” for the social media platform is 100% photos. It is easy to fill one’s newsfeed with nothing but photos of idealized perfection in models, celebrities, and more.
For the ultimate Instagram photo, there is a lot of editing involved. People even buy special backlit photo cases to be able to take the perfect “selfie”. Apps help people digitally edit their faces or their bodies to make it look more “perfect”. Many people argue that social media is damaging to self-esteem because people portray their real-life identities to the online identities of others. Recent research suggests that instagram might be more damaging to body image than big media mediums like billboards.
Social Media Comparison
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “research found women rarely compare their appearance to others’ in magazines or on billboards, and only sometimes compare their appearance to others’ on TV.” Women are more apt to make social media comparisons than any other, the research found, and social media comparisons describe the way young women are comparing themselves all the time.
The results of the study were startling. Women were asked to report how often they compared themselves to other women and social media and what their mood, body image perception, and thoughts about diet and/or exercise were like. “Women reported being in the worst mood after social media comparisons relative to other comparisons,” the study explains. “When women made social media comparisons, they also reported being unhappier with their appearance.” In addition, women were more “motivated” to start drastic weight loss regimens. All of these reactions were more extreme when women compared themselves against images on social media.
Body image can lead to a damaged sense of self-esteem and encourage extreme behaviors which can lead to the development of an eating disorder. Spending too much time online can be problematic. If you or a loved one are concerned about body image issues leading to an eating disorder, call Enlightened Solutions today. We provide dual diagnosis treatment for body image, eating disorder, and co-occurring substance disorders as well. For more information, call 844-234-LIVE.