Social Media and How We See Ourselves

Have you ever looked at your phone and compared yourself to someone else? Social media today is very misleading and often presents women with unrealistic standards. Below, I am going to talk about how social media impacts a woman’s body image.

A blog written by Anna Sundquist on the National Eating Disorders Association website states that within 30 minutes of engaging on social media women tend to fixate negatively on their weight and appearance. It is very important to understand what women see on social media is not necessarily true and is often misleading. 

girl looking at phone
Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com

Body Image, What is it?

As stated by Medical New Today, body image is how one sees their body, and how they feel about themselves. Women may have concerns about themselves, how they look, the number on the scale, their hair, skin, or the way a certain body part may look.

For many years, people have been learning about the importance of beauty and how it relates to the human body. However, social media often misinforms us and affects how we see ourselves.

How We Perceive Ourselves

With social media being a hot topic, it is very common for women to scroll through the “perfect” photos online that friends and celebrities post and not help but feel negative towards themselves. The National Eating Disorders Association states that it is normal for women to compare themselves to others and that social media makes it a lot easier for women to compare their body image due to what they see. We now not only face people on a day-to-day basis, but we also face how they present themselves online.

Below, Magnolia Creek Treatment Centre for Eating Disorders states how social media is used for influencing women that they need to look and feel a certain way:

  • Body Objectification: Many photos on social media have been edited. This often shows how one seeks approval by how many likes or comments one gets.
  • Comparison: Social media tends to lead towards comparison. Women often compare themselves to images or highlights that they see to try and find happiness. 

Adolescent Girls

Today, social media plays a big role in how young women see themselves. They go online and see these “perfect” photos and this teaches them at a young age to not accept their body, or that flaws are imperfections and need to be changed.

In my opinion, this is setting young adolescents up to think that they need to change the way they look so that society will approve. The influence of social media can also lead to eating disorders as young women often think they need to look a certain way. This results in them not eating properly in hopes that their bodies will look the same as what they see online. 

teen girl taking a selfie
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Photoshop and Filters

As stated by INSIDER, people use Photoshop and filters to take away their flaws and create an unrealistic image of themselves. The use of filters creates a fictional fantasy and makes society around them perceive that this is the “best” life. When in reality, this is hurting and teaching women that it is not okay to love the skin that they are in.

I personally believe that social media should have to identify when a photo has been manipulated. If this was made mandatory then I think it would teach women to love their body, and that you don’t have to look a certain way to be accepted by society. People should love you the way you are!

Next time you’re scrolling on social media, remember that things are not always as they seem. The photos you see, and the people you interact with can have a big impact on your body image. If you think that social media has affected your self-perception, you may need to re-evaluate how you are using social media.

You are enough quote
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Facebook: Have you ever looked on social media and compared yourself to others? Read more about how social media is affecting women today! https://bit.ly/3idrstx

Twitter: Does social media affect your perception, read more: https://bit.ly/3idrstx #WomenSupportingWomen #BeTheChange

7 thoughts on “Social Media and How We See Ourselves

  1. So many good points Brittney! I especially love your suggestion that altered images need to be marked as such (though ensuring compliance would be an interesting challenge!)

    I’ve been encouraged by the make-up free selfies that some celebrities now post; I think it helps to balance the scale a tiny bit, as some of them are frankly unrecognizable without the makeup, hair extensions, clothes, jewelry, lighting etc.

    • Thanks, Brenda, to have followed some of the online #nofiter trends. I have seen some celebrities also following too which is great.

      Lizzo is a great example female celebrity who posts lots of raw and unedited posts. I follow her on Instagram and find her posts very inspiring and modivational.

  2. Hey Brittney

    Please do not get me going on Real Life (RL) versus online representations. I rant about it often.

    So many studies have been done outlining the psychological damage that has been done. I have read scientific articles that state that “likes” fire up the same areas of the brain as “eating chocolate” or “winning money”. As you so eloquently point out, “self-worth” is determined by the number of “likes”, “comments”, or “followers” that one has. So many people are willing to do whatever it takes to garner those coveted likes to experience that psychological high.

    I am sure many would argue that using a filter is no different than applying make-up or getting plastic surgery, but I guess that is a discussion for another day. I too am worried about the long lasting negative impact this mindset will have. Perhaps your idea of labelling manipulated photos would be a good starting point.

    Interesting article: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/social-media-likes-impact-teens-brains-and-behavior.html

    Thanks for the information! Well-written. Cheers!

    • I 100% there is lots more I could have written about, but I didn’t want to go too crazy.
      I would have to agree with you, lots of “internet trolls” online who would definitely agree that makeup, plastic surgery, and filters are the same. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.

      Thanks for leaving the link, I will take a look at it later this evening.

  3. Hi Brittney, I really enjoyed rading your blog. It is an issue that has been going on for too long. Social media has just on the band wagon to continue.

    This objectification and negative view of women’s bodies affects young and old. It will only change by talking about it and building ourselves as confident, self loving women.

    I suggest you read this book https://a.co/iYjN6xI The Body Temple: Kundalini Yoga for Body Acceptance, Easting Disorders & Radical Self-Love by Ramdesh Kaur. It is a wonderful book that addresses self-esteem, poor body image, letting go of labels, assessing where you are and give tools to build one’s self-worth, confidence and self-love.

    Cheers, Meherbani Kaur

    • Thanks, Meherban, I agree this is an ongoing issue and is getting worse with social media.

      I am always looking for book suggestions, I will look into the book you suggested in your comment.

  4. Hi Brittney,
    This is so true. So often we look at other people, even in every day life, and we compare ourselves to them. It does not only affect our mental health but also the physical health of so many. People turn to eating disorders because “being skinny is in” or “I need to lose weight”, when they are perfectly healthy.

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