Social Media Spawns Both Body Image Inspiration and Disappointment

Social Media has been an amazing way for people to gain body inspiration, but it has also caused a lot of anxiety and distress

Social media has had a big impact on how people feel about their body, and sometimes it can motivate or disappoint.

When people scroll through social media apps, they see unrealistic expectations for their bodies. May it be a six-pack for men or a skinny waist for women, many of us feel insecure. Not only that, but also people tend to make bad decisions when it comes to being healthy due to insecurities. These insecurities can lead to drastic consequences, such as eating disorders. Though lowering calories can be healthy, forcefully cutting down essential calories can lead to health problems.
Sometimes, social media makes us feel like we need to have the best body. In reality, social media only highlights the best parts of someone’s appearance.
Additionally, some influencers follow unsafe eating practices to make their bodies look better.

Many Woodbridge High students agree that social media causes pressure.

“Mostly social media has been negative because it seems like everyone is just naturally photogenic when in reality it was actually taking a bunch of pictures and choosing the best ones,” junior Abigail Shih said.

Emily Clarkson, the writer of Simon & Schuster, agrees that the use of editing pictures and creating false images is widespread.
“Now, apps have exploded—it’s not only supermodels, [being airbrushed] you even see people editing photos of their babies, which is so heartbreaking,” Clarkson writes.

The constant need to be wanted and included might cause people to try unsafe diet tactics. With our technological advancements in 2022, it is so easy to photoshop a person’s body and make them look unrealistic compared to the average person. A big thing influencers might not understand is the pictures they post of their edited bodies might cause psychological and physical harm.

Mental Health First Aid says that 52% of boys and 45% of girls are affected by eating disorders due to social media.

“I think a big part of healthy social media usage is the reminder that people will usually only post the best parts about them,” Shih said.

Even in future generations, kids might have the idea that their body does not look good enough, and as a result they may feel the need to do unhealthy practices to look like the person they see on their phone. To avoid generations of negative body images and the feeling of not being good enough, we need to stop photoshopping our bodies and posting them.

However, this is not the only solution to prevent body image becoming a problem for people.

While social media has done a lot of harm to our society, a lot of good can come from the pictures and accounts people follow. They can be motivated by certain influencers and better themselves and their bodies as a result. A big example of this is gym accounts and fitness influencers. Influencers such as @emilyskyefit often post a workout or something new they tried at the gym, and people who see that post might follow. It gives people motivation to work out and be more fit, creating a positive environment.

“Many of my friends started working out through workouts that they saw online,” senior Veda Vinod said.

Another positive aspect about social media is honest influencers. There are social media influencers who embrace their body and do not photoshop their pictures. The people who see these pictures might have a sense of relief knowing that their bodies are similar to that person and they don’t have to stop eating or change themselves to look good.

“Looking at other people in photos makes me feel that I’m not the only one with my body type. I see that everyone else has a unique way of how they look,” senior Tara Leon said.

Instagram accounts such as @laura.iu and @theshirarose embrace their bodies and show off their original figures, regardless of what people think. Not only posting pictures of themselves, but these influencers also post helpful tips and quotes to stay healthy while accepting how your body looks.
Overall, different body types are what make us unique. Instead of trying to change ourselves, we need to embrace our body type and know that we are best the way we are. Yes, it is great to follow gym accounts on social media and have healthy eating habits, but it is also important to have pride and confidence in our uniqueness. So the next time you snap that selfie, delete the photoshop app and take pride in who you are today.