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Social Media Has a Negative Effect on Body Image and Self Esteem Essay

Social media has become one of the most popular sources of communication for the upcoming generation. For young people growing up in today’s society, social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have provided pictures and news that have become the first thing that their eyes see in the morning and the last thing that they see before bed. These pictures have provided unrealistic standards as to what is considered beautiful in today’s society. As young people refer to these images as a form of comparison, it has created harmful circumstances. These influences on the lives of young people have forced them to take extreme measures and in some cases, has been the cause of death. Social media in today’s society has proven to have a negative impact on the way young people, specifically females, view their bodies. Unrealistic beauty standards, dangerous comparisons and disorders have all been a result to the increase in social media and the impact that it has on the lives of young people.

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To begin, social media has created unrealistic standards for young people, especially females. Being bombarded by pictures of females wearing bikinis or minimal clothing that exemplifies their “perfect” bodies, squatting an unimaginable amount of weight at a gym while being gawked at by the opposite sex or of supermodels posing with some of life’s most desirable things has created a standard that many young people feel they need to live up to. If this standard isn’t reached, then it is assumed that they themselves are not living up to the norms or the “standards” and then therefore, they are not beautiful. The article Culture, Beauty and Therapeutic Alliance discusses the way in which females are bombarded with media messages starting at a young age. On page 81 of this article, Carneiro et.al (2013) states that the idealized women in today’s society are “ white, slim, helpless, young, feminine, and submissive.” (p. 81) These standards are clearly represented in social media. From accounts on Instagram that encourage things such as thigh gaps, unhealthy fitness standards and sexual encounters, it’s engrained in the brains of young people that they must look like this in order to be successful and desired. This article also discusses the way negative standards are represented through things such as Barbie Dolls, which surrounds young females with unrealistic expectations and creates and idealized standard that is in fact, not ideal. (Carniero, 2013, p. 82) From the standards that are created through today’s social media, it has created it a new subculture and for some people, a new way of life.

Due to the increase in popularity of social media, today’s generation is bombarded with unrealistic standards when it comes to beauty. When young people today first turn on their cellphones, more often than not, they refer to a social media site. Whether it’s the ever-popular Instagram, where people can post pictures and followers can “like” to show their approval or post comments. Or, whether it’s Twitter, where people can post witty or inspiring or informational things for their followers to see and can be retweeted or favourited. Or they could click on the little blue Facebook icon, where all of the above can happen. These are some of the most popular social media outlets today because young people are greeted with instant gratification. From likes, to favourites to retweets, all of these things symbolize power, authority in some cases and the most important to young people today, approval. This need and desire to be “wanted” by their peers in an online and superficial way has created a new and separate subculture when it comes to young people. In the article Women’s Exposure to thin- and-beautiful Media Images: Body image effects of media ideal internalization and impact reduction inventions (2005), the authors, Yamamiya et al. state that the average women feels the need to be an increasingly smaller size than in previous years. (p.74) This proves that people, especially young women, in today’s society have created a new ideal when it comes to the way beauty is viewed- and the increase in social media could definitely be thanked for this. This article written by Yamamiya et al. (2005) also presents some alarming statistics, such that “even a 5 min exposure to thin-and-beautiful media images results in a more negative body image state than does exposure to images of neutral objects, particularly among young women with high media-ideal internalization levels and social comparison tendencies.” (Yamamiya et al. , 2005, p.78) These statistics prove that all the negative exposure of the female (and male) body on social media outlets really does have a detrimental effect on the lives of young people. By being constantly exposed to these images and messages, it has created dangerous and sometimes life altering consequences.

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As presented, social media clearly has had a negative impact on the way young people view their bodies. Due to these standards and the pressure placed on young people to look a certain way, it has caused many people to resort to extreme measures such as extreme yoyo dieting, eating disorders and in some cases, plastic surgery. These are obviously very extreme, and in some cases, deadly. Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia have both become prevalent disorders in today’s society. It seems as if wherever anyone goes, stories of people who endure these disorders on a daily basis are discussed. According to Derenne and Beresin’s article Body image, media, and eating disorders, they state that eating disorders, such as the ones mentioned above have been coming into the forefront more recently due to the increases in the access to media and more specifically, social media. This article also discusses the dramatic increases that are taking place right now when it comes to the statistics of people who claim to have or have had any of the aforementioned disorders. (Derenne & Bersesin, 2006, p. 256) The increase in these statistics is obviously not a healthy thing for young people or for society as a whole. This increase also is a key factor in the creation of a new subculture, as mentioned above. This is because as people start to use unhealthy methods to achieve bodies that are not “average”, it creates a new norm. And because of this new norm, other people who see these images that are posted on social media outlets, such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and try to alter their bodies to imitate what they see. This is a vicious cycle that often results in people resorting to unhealthy methods, such as dieting and in extreme cases, eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, anorexia and binge eating.

Overall, through the examination and analysis of these particular articles, it is clear that social media in today’s society has proven to have a negative effect on the way young people, specifically females, view their bodies. Social media outlets such as Instagram, which displays pictures that are posted by people who in return, expect “likes”. Twitter, which allows people to post up to 140 characters to express how they’re feeling or what’s on their mind and Facebook, which is a mix of the two of the aforementioned have had a major impact on the live of young people. These social networking sites have created unrealistic beauty standards as things such as Photoshop and filters flow through the cyber sphere. These beauty standards have created new norms as to what the “average” person ought to look like. Due to these unrealistic standards presented, young people (especially females) have resorted to dangerous methods to achieve the “perfect body” which in some cases have been life threatening. Overall, it is most definitely clear that the media and in this case, social media has a large effect on the way people live their lives.

Carneiro, R., Zeytinoglu, S., Hort, F., & Wilkins, E. (2013). Culture, beauty, and therapeutic alliance. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 25(2), 80-92.

Derenne, J. L., & Beresin, E. V. (2006). Body image, media, and eating disorders. Academic Psychiatry, 30(3), 257-261.

Yamamiya, Y., Cash, T. F., Melnyk, S. E., Posavac, H. D., & Posavac, S. S. (2005). Women’s exposure to thin-and-beautiful media images: Body image effects of media-ideal internalization and impact-reduction interventions. Body image, 2(1), 74-80.

Works Cited

Carneiro, R., Zeytinoglu, S., Hort, F., & Wilkins, E. (2013). Culture, beauty, and therapeutic alliance. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 25(2), 80-92.

Derenne, J. L., & Beresin, E. V. (2006). Body image, media, and eating disorders. Academic Psychiatry, 30(3), 257-261.

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Yamamiya, Y., Cash, T. F., Melnyk, S. E., Posavac, H. D., & Posavac, S. S. (2005). Women’s exposure to thin-and-beautiful media images: Body image effects of media-ideal internalization and impact-reduction interventions. Body image, 2(1), 74-80.

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Social Media Has a Negative Effect on Body Image and Self Esteem Essay
Artscolumbia
Artscolumbia
Social media has become one of the most popular sources of communication for the upcoming generation. For young people growing up in today’s society, social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have provided pictures and news that have become the first thing that their eyes see in the morning and the last thing that they see before bed. These pictures have provided unrealistic standards as to what is considered beautiful in today’s society. As young people refer to these ima
2019-04-19 02:16:06
Social Media Has a Negative Effect on Body Image and Self Esteem Essay
$ 13.900 2018-12-31
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