Improperly Redefining “Beautiful”: Social Media’s Profound Effect on Body Image

Topics: Social media, Mass media, Facebook Pages: 4 (1492 words) Published: April 6, 2014
Emily Muhlberg
ENGL 112
Dr. Delony
March 4, 2014
Improperly Redefining “Beautiful”: Social Media’s Profound Effect on Body Image The effects that social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have on their viewers are widely varied, but in my opinion the most impactful message that viewers take away from their social media use is the proposed definition of what is “beautiful”. People are highly moldable beings who soak up what they are surrounded by, so it makes sense that a message implying that they can “improve” themselves by losing weight, applying makeup, or focusing more on what they wear would have such a direct impact on the way they view themselves as a whole. Studies have shown that frequent users of social media have lower levels of body satisfaction, a higher rate of developing an eating disorder, and more of a tendency to connect their self-worth to their outer appearance. This evidence leads me to deduce that the most long-lasting effect of social media is the influence it has on a viewers’ body image. According to an article found in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, “experiments with adolescent girls demonstrated significant relationships between media ideals and body dissatisfaction overall” (Ferguson et al, 2). When people use social media as a means of comparing themselves to others, the common assumption that they will experience a decreased satisfaction level with the way that they look is, more often than not, correct. A popular quote by Theodore Roosevelt is “comparison is the thief of joy”. It is often repeated, yes, but not often taken to heart, because comparisons continue to happen via social media every day. It is, however, completely accurate, because as someone who has done my fair share of comparing myself to others, I know that if I want to start my day off feeling insecure in my body and secretly resentful of others’ bodies, all I have to do is scroll through Instagram upon waking. One may ask why the...

Cited: Ferguson, Christopher J., Monica E. Munoz, Adolfo Garza, and Mariza Galindo. "Concurrent and Prospective Analyses of Peer, Television and Social Media Influences on Body Dissatisfaction, Eating Disorder Symptoms and Life Satisfaction in Adolescent Girls." Journal of Youth and Adolescence 43 (2014): 1-14. 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
Rutledge, Christina M., Katherine L. Gillmor, and Meghan M. Gillen. "Does This Profile Picture Make Me Look Fat? Facebook and Body Image in College Students." Psychology of Popular Media Culture 2.4 (2013): 251-58. American Psychological Association. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
Strickland, Jennifer. “Self-Image/Media Influences." Just Say Yes, 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. .
"Teenagers And The Media." Eagle Boys Ranch, 2014. Web. 01 Mar. 2014. .
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