“Not everything you see online is real” – Is social media affecting the way girls view their body?

Have you ever found yourself carelessly scrolling through your social media apps, when you have a few moments to spare or procrastinating work, well you’re not alone.

An estimated 4.62 billion users worldwide. With today’s culture being heavily reliant on social media, constantly scrolling through posts can negatively effect the way people look at their body comparing themselves to posts of an unrealistic lifestyle.

Seeing unrealistic expectations of how your body should look can result in negatively comparing your body to others this can then lead unhealthy habits and could lead to eating disorders.

I’m constantly comparing myself to girls online who have insane figures. – Izzy Mathews

With influencers taking over our feeds on popular apps like TikTok and Instagram with smoothed skin and photoshopped images. Its hard for young girls to not compare themselves.

I spoke to 23 year-old Izzy Mathews finds herself flicking between Facebook, Instagram and TikTok daily, she said “I’m constantly comparing myself to girls online, who have insane figures and clothes sense and I just wish I could look like that worst part is I’ve actually lost a  decent amount of weight so I feel confident in myself but then I go on my socials and bam I’m right back to hating myself”

The unrealistic beauty standards exposes people to feel as if they need to actively change their looks and lifestyle to feel like the models portrayed on social media.

Izzy explains how she has “signed up to the gym countless times but stopped going after a month and I tried the whole ‘ not eating and weight loss shakes’ yet it didn’t work but I want to look like these ‘slim girls’ who look good in everything”

Meal replacement drinks and missing meals is a common when people come to comparing their body image to other and trying to make a change to their weight. however this is not a healthy way to control you weight or lose it.

Missing meals could also lead to unhealthy eating disorders. According to Webmd “one out of every seven women has or is struggling with an eating disorder”  they conducted a study which found “found that 36% of adolescent girls – more than one out of every three — believed they were overweight, while 59% were trying to lose weight. More than 90% of people with an eating disorder are girls.”

I’m forever telling my daughter she’s beautiful and doesn’t need a filter and telling her not everything you see online isn’t real.- Stacey Reynolds

With such a high number of girls affected by an eating disorder, could social media be made a more body positive place sharing more ways to be confident in your own body and show particularly these girls that they are perfect in their own ways.

If more accounts posted more flawed posts on how their daily life is maybe a sweaty workout picture instead of a perfect mirror selfie with untouched hair and not a drip of sweat. This also follows on to their stories where their healthy day by day routine is shows including their diet, training , strength and figure. In the long run this could cause women to make unhealthy diet choices.

Social expectations put a strain on young girls and boys to look a certain way, encouraging a younger audience to follow body positive accounts and hashtags will allow them to get inspiration from accounts rather than being made to feel insecure. 20 year old Georgia Ferguson said “Social media can be a dangerous place for younger people that don’t like the way they look, or look like models and influencers”

Stacey Reynolds a mum from Medway is constantly reassuring her teen daughter that “not everything you see online is real” however this reassurance goes unnoticed by many young girls and when they go on to apps like TikTok and Instagram they are constantly shown people in an unrealistic perfect world.

However are these perfect worlds even real? AMAZE created this video to help young girls understand body image and the effect social media, it shines a light on all the negative things that social media brings to body confidences.

Instagram fit inspiration posts are carefully pick so the audience see what the influencer wants them to see, it may take then up to 100 photos to get the best one. This reduces the amount of flaws they portray online.

Lots of hashtags such as #fittnessmotivation have over 122 million posts filled with slim women and men pushing people to come to the gym however that isn’t possible for everyone and having this constantly posted online has a knock on effect on girls.

#perfectbody has over 5.1 million post on Instagram with most of them being slim women with perfect skin and the perfect life, however there are a few scattered images of women with stretch marks and plus size women embracing their bodies and body confidence.

 

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A post shared by OLKHOVA SMART BLOND (@olkhova_julia)

However with all these fitness posts spread across social media they are motivating girls but even after losing the weight they are still comparing themselves to others Georgia said she “lost two stone a couple of years ago because I felt like I couldn’t fit in with other girls around me and I was always the ‘fat’ friend”

Women in today’s society are continually encouraged that they should be comfortable in their own skin, but how can they when the ‘perfect’ body type isn’t relatable for everyone, Why does it matter what shape our bodies are as no two people are the same so no two body’s will be the same.

If social media created a more body positive area, to help women appreciate how they look with inspiration images this could make people stop comparing themselves to an unrealistic beauty standard of the ‘perfect’ body. This could potentially help women’s mental health seeing women with stretch marks and body imperfections shared more often.

As a society we are becoming more accepting of inner beauty and look at our imperfections are a unique style. social media also has it positive aspects when it comes to body confidence as it can connect people with similar body types with some body- accepting communities.

created hereFeatured Image: mikoto.raw Photographer, Pexels