There’s no escaping social media. It’s everywhere.
And when it comes to body image, positive or negative, each platform’s role has to be taken with a grain of salt, with Instagram particularly being shown to have the potential to alter the way in which women see themselves and driving their need to post edited images of their “best selves”.
A recent Australian-US study surveyed 276 women aged 18-25 and found that if you spend thirty minutes or more on the popular image based site, you are more likely to view your body negatively, experience greater body dissatisfaction and self-objectification.
The study also found that women are more likely to see themselves ‘as an object beholden to the “thin and toned” beauty ideal’ and think that others are ‘better’ or ‘more attractive’ than they are.
Similarly, the study suggests that Instagram “fitspiration” is particularly damaging as instead of ‘promoting fitness and health’, it ‘just seems to make people feel their own bodies aren’t up to standard’.
The Butterfly Foundation, an Australian organization for eating disorders and body image, referenced the study in conjunction with their annual Love Your Body Week (September 3-9), to encourage people to love and be confident within their bodies.
The foundation’s CEO Christine Morgan spoke on the study’s findings, saying, “Our fast-paced digital world is fuelled by highly influential images glorifying body objectification and promoting the social benefits of body obsession.” She added that ‘work needs to be done to combat anxiety and depression in young people to promote body confidence’.