Mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed, coming across your favorite model’s freshly posted mirror selfie, hitting the like button on her post, questioning your own body measurements, ending up considering your body type unideal.
If this has ever happened to you, then you are far from alone.
The Power of Social Media
Social Media was developed as an efficient, effective, and easy tool to provide a plethora of opportunities to its users. From setting up a customer base for our home-based business to getting a peek inside the lives of our favorite celebrities, social media has emerged helpful in fulfilling a wide variety of tasks, be it essential or trivial. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that social media, even though being a product of the human mind, now, in turn, has immense power to rule over it. So much so that it can even alter how we perceive our own selves.
Give this a thought; on the one hand, social media platforms provide the feature of ‘liking’ the photos of others, while on the other hand, we unknowingly begin disliking ourselves for not matching the unrealistic standards of mainstream media.
Crazy, isn’t it?
Social Media and Unrealism
The real reason why social media tends to hurt our body image is because of the unrealism that prevails. Your social media account acts as a window to your life, causing a large number of people to form opinions about how you look and what you do. Therefore, most people, on their social media profiles, hesitate to post raw and unfiltered content. In an attempt to portray themselves as flawless, people resort to altering their natural images using editing software, making them appear unrealistically perfect, and this is where the real problem begins. Even some of the most eminent models admit to having used photoshop and face editing apps on their photos before posting them.
A thin waist, perfect curves, long legs, a flawlessly smooth skin and a desirable physique for women and a strong body, a muscular built, popping veins and a dominating physique for men are promulgated as the ideal appearances and are considered to be the only way each one of us should look.
This practice of editing, beautifying and photoshopping shows everything in the best light and propagates the idea of idealized body types. This body type exists only inside the screen and not in real life.
The Toll on Mental Health
The unfortunate outcome of this social media frenzy is the development of unrealistic body and beauty standards in people’s minds and the creation of self-expectations to look a certain way. Believing what they find on their respective social media feeds, they start subconsciously comparing their bodies to that of others and feel distressed when they are unable to meet the impractical standards.
Frequent shape and weight comparisons contribute to the birth of negative feelings about one’s body. The plight is worse for the tender young minds who silently suffer due to not feeling beautiful, not feeling up to the mark, feeling less than others, feeling diffident, feeling flawed or feeling unideal. This can also put them on the path of perfectionism, making them resort to photo editing apps to alter the appearances to their satisfaction. This is a practice that can prove to be extremely unhealthy for their mental health. Some even develop an obsessive nature towards their bodies’ appearance and mindlessly try to achieve the ‘best body type, even compromising their eating habits.
It is not a surprise why researchers conclude that spending too much time on platforms like Instagram and Facebook has proven to be a major cause of low self-esteem, inferiority complex, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders.
The Way Out
Living in this digital world, it would be impractical to suggest staying away from social media to prevent the negative influence it tends to have on us. Rather, the real need is to understand what to allow and what to avoid when it comes to letting things into our brain.
It stands true that social media is a massive influence. However, it is also true that these media platforms allow us to decide what we want to see and be influenced by. Following accounts that spread realism, body positivity and seek to end the stigma behind having flaws are the right ones for those who find themselves caught in insecurities. While scrolling through social media, it is important to always keep in mind that not everything we see here exists in actuality. Everything is not as flawless as what meets the eye. It is important to remember that the measure of your beauty is way beyond artificial standards.
You are beautiful; you are enough, in your own unique way!
Written by Aadvika
Medhavi · 15 April 2021 at 9:09 pm
Tanisha Gupta · 16 April 2021 at 1:58 am
Totally relatable…content deserves appreciation ?
One must learn to love oneself irrespective of looks.
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