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The Reality of Body Image through Social Media

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 933 words Published: 18th Sep 2017

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Ahmad El-Zein

As a society, people have and continue to look down on others with different perspectives in both positive and negative ways. To this day, social media has affected and changed our way of looking at ourselves or how we look at others. In other words, social media has affected the way we look at body image.

Everyone is unique because of their individual, physical traits. Even though we have our opinion on our perfect body, changing ones’ personal features takes away from their individuality. Social media changes our perception of beauty and body image. It allows us to think of others in a different point of view which may affect how we feel or think about ourselves.  Did you know that the average woman is 5″4, and weighs one hundred and fifty pounds? The average female model is 5″11 and weighs one hundred and seventeen pounds (Chojnacki). The average male is 5″10 and weighs one hundred and eighty-three pounds. The average male model is 6″2 and weighs one hundred and sixty-five pounds. Eighty percent of women say that women magazines, ads, and television make them insecure (Dam). Forty-two percent of girls from the first through third grade say that they want to be thinner.

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So how do we think in our right minds that it is appropriate or okay to show Photoshop models as an idolized image of beauty? It is quite mind-boggling and heartbreaking to compare when we see ribs, collarbones on an animal. It is gut wrenching and viewed as abusive, yet when we see it on a male or female, it is described as being beautiful or sexy, and what to strive for and how it is healthy. We are told that men are all needed to have abs and muscles to be attractive. Social media wants us to see the physical attributes of people and not the mental attributes. Once in a blue moon, Seventeen Magazine, Vogue or Vanity Fair will show a pretty, attractive face that needs a little fix here and there, yet the aggressive use of techniques like the other times is disturbing, don’t you think? Instagram has a huge affect on body image. Tell me you have not used an Instagram filter that makes you look better before uploading or editing a photo before posting it on other social media websites such as Facebook. It is as same concept yet to a more extreme. As quoted by Professor Susan J Paxton “Social media has allowed us to view pictures in magazines and on TV that show thin, attractive women or muscular, lean men have been shown to lead to body dissatisfaction.”

Now do not run off thinking I am saying models and celebrities are ugly and not beautiful without Photoshop because that is clearly not true. However, what is true is that social media has altered the way we see people, and we define them as either attractive or ugly/hideous. It may influence people to on the wrong path, as in approaching drugs or medicines that may alter the way someone looks in a positive way. The word “Beautiful” is naturally symmetrical to the eye and is not perfect. Sure people will get bags under at some point, it does not mean their ugly, forty-year-old women can have cellulite in her thighs and still be in shape and does not mean she is ugly. A man can be overweight and not have the perfect model body, but it does not mean he is ugly. What makes a person ugly is how he or she behaves towards themselves, others or to the world. What makes someone beautiful is how they love themselves, others and the world they live in. Accept the fact social media does not give you the truth and accept that you were born with what you have. Don’t go comparing yourself to professional models and celebrities. Their main job is to maintain an appearance. They have their connections, recourses and access for expensive treatment, vacations, and designer clothes.

Just remember, reality is different to what gets posted through social media. We have to remember that we are all beautiful in our way. You need to get that tape out of your head that is telling you that models and celebrities who consistently post on social media are winning at life. Ladies, the world is not expecting you to be a size DD (Double-D), just be who you are. The world does not expect us, men, to have abs. Just be who you are. The media has created so much of a problem to this day. The downfalls through social media are that people view ugliness as someone with less appealing physical attributes that they may compare to celebrities or models. Getting the specific amount of likes on Instagram or Facebook does not define you on how you look. Success is at your fingertips. Your success is not based on your bra size, or how big your biceps is. It is based on your morals, passions, personality and so much more than just appearance. From now on, don’t let social media tell you how your body should look.

Works Cited

Chojnacki, Mary Signe, et al. “Influence of Magazines on College-Age Females’ Body Image.” Depleting Body Image, www.ssc.wisc.edu/~jpiliavi/357/body-image.htm.Web

Dam, Julie K.L. “How Do I Look? – Vol. 54 No. 10.” PEOPLE.com, Time Inc, 4 Sept. 2000, people.com/archive/cover-story-how-do-i-look-vol-54-no-10/. Web

Paxton, Susan J. “Social media can damage body image – here’s how to counteract it.” The Conversation, 12 Jan. 2017, theconversation.com/social-media-can-damage-body-image-heres-how-to-counteract-it-65717.


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