The effect of social media on body image can have various negative consequences on the physical and psychological well-being of an individual. They experience body shame because of continuous exposure to particular body types on social media. Social media gives you the impression that you are personally connected to the people who share particular content (such as photos of lean, toned bodies and nutritious meals), which makes it simpler to be persuaded. Your perception of a thin/toned body type or a certain diet may be distorted by the deliberate exposure to and effect of particular information.
Let’s understand the impact
Social media prioritizes particular body types as ideal, causing society to perceive these body types and specific eating behaviors as more appealing and healthy than others. Because people often need to win others’ approval and avoid their disapproval, these social norms may have an impact on how you view your body. As a result, they could follow the social expectations for physical beauty. Users of social media frequently decide to highlight their best moments for the world to see. When compared to the people we see on Instagram, we could start to feel unworthy. Due to this experience and altered images that promote thin ideals, we can believe that attaining the “ideal” body image will make us feel more valuable and content with ourselves.
The Rise of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Social media promotes unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards. We may start to see fabricated or exaggerated flaws in our physical appearance when our brain processes are hijacked, which can reduce our self-esteem. This condition, known as body dysmorphic disorder, causes us to constantly search for flaws in our appearance and makes it difficult to block out unfavorable thoughts about our bodies. To achieve our idealized physical form, we could also develop disordered eating habits. We might battle an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa, in which we might overwork ourselves while trying to reduce weight. We feel isolated from our friends and families because they don’t understand how we are feeling from the inside, which lowers our self-worth.
What is body image?
Body image is known as the perception you hold about your physical self and the thoughts and emotions attached to it.
4 essential factors that can determine body image are:
- Perceptual body image (how you view yourself and your body)
- Affective body image (your perception of your appearance)
- Cognitive body image (the way you perceive your body)
- Behavior-based body image (how you act as a result of how you feel about
Body image connects to perception and the mental representation of a body, and processing others’ bodies visually also involves processing your own body. It is important to understand that your perception of your body might not always correspond to reality. Body image issues that may lead to eating disorders might arise from a skewed perspective of one’s own body.
Images of people with seemingly ideal physiques and looks are frequently posted on social media sites. Frequently, these people enhance their appearance using filters and picture editing software. As a result, both men and women may develop unrealistic beauty standards, which can cause body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. Social media filters bring on a syndrome known as “snapchat dysphoria,” causing people to become obsessed with looking like the filtered version of themselves.
Comparison and competition
Social media creates a toxic culture that promotes unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards where individuals compare their bodies to others and strive to meet the same beauty standards. Many people have a tendency to only share their finest pictures, which might not be an accurate representation of how they really look. This can result in poor body image for both sexes and even mental health problems like despair and anxiety.
On social media, cyberbullies can flourish by assaulting victims because of their physical characteristics such as size, form, or appearance. On one’s self-esteem and body image, this can be detrimental. American teenagers directly encountered cyberbullying in 59% of cases, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey. This involves, among other forms of bullying, using unsettling remarks and spreading untrue tales.
Worsening of body image disorders
Social media can make everyone feel inadequate, but it particularly negatively impacts those suffering from eating disorders or body-image disorders like body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). People with BDD frequently obsess over one or more minor or nonexistent physical flaws and engage in repetitive and compulsive actions related to their appearances, such as mirror checking and reassurance seeking. Social media may excessively exacerbate these problems.
Ways to cope with body image dissatisfaction:
- Focusing on strengths: Consider your strengths and the things you appreciate about yourself rather than your alleged weaknesses. This can aid in refocusing your attention and raise your general sense of self-worth.
- Practicing self-care: It can lift your spirits and make you feel better about your appearance. This can involve maintaining a regular exercise routine, obtaining enough rest, and adhering to a nutritious diet.
- Confront your negative thinking: Try to recognize and question any unfavorable ideas you may have about your body. Look for facts to support these ideas or determine if they are plausible. Attempting to change negative ideas into more optimistic ones is another option.
- Surround yourself with positive people: It helps in supporting and uplifting the individual who is so conscious about his or her body image . Try avoiding people on social media who make you feel bad about yourself.