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Weight maintenance and food intake have arisen as important concerns of the western world. If you go to every bookstore, library, or Amazon bestseller list, you will notice that there are still more diet manuscripts at the top of the list. While everybody has a very different view of the ideal body image, we are heavily affected by public pressures and the power of media. Our expectations and values that self-assurance, appearance, and fashion are perfect for body confidence. Overall, we can compare it to the term "skinny" (Holmberg 23). We see images of movies star and models all around us, on television, in movies, in the newspaper, and ads that make us feel inadequate. They show skinny people all the time and give us the image that lean is best for your look and certainly for your health. Since body shaming is a big problem in America and percentage of teens with the eating disorder has increased, there have been varying views regarding if social media gives negative body image as well as the fashion industry slavery.
Based on the national center for the eating disorder (NCED), the social media offers a significant information on the body associated predicaments to young teenagers of which 50% read beauty and fashion related platforms (NCED 176). The exposure to the ideal pictures coincides with a period in their living where self-regard and efficacy are reduced and the body figure is fragile because of physical adjustment of puberty as well as the tendency for the public comparison. NCED further stresses that many people especially the young find themselves within the subculture of dieting illustrating the messages from the social media together from peers and parents (NCED 79).
According to the body-image study conducted by Common Sense Media (CSM), teens, children and young adults who are active only worry much about how they are perceived regarding body figure. Furthermore, body dissatisfaction appears to be increasing in the USA since the research also illustrated 8 out of 10 girls have been on diet (Andsager 31). The instances of negative body pictures are over the social and fashion websites. Moreover, people in Youtube clips ask the internet audience to rate them if they are ugly or pretty while other rates one another on Instagram. Additionally, studies have illustrated that the mainstream media including television, movies, advertising, magazines, and movies contain idealized, stereotypical and unrealistic portrayals of body categories (Andsager 22). Because young individuals are no longer passive consumer of the media, they create and share messages about body appearance.
The study conducted by Fardouly and Vartanian, social media damages users’ body image by emphasizing the thin ideal. Also, there has been robust evidence connecting social media utilization and body shapes, surveillance, self-objectification, dieting and drive for thinness (Fardouly and Vartanian 42). The visual platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook deliver the tools that permit young adults to earn the approval for the physical appearance and contrast with that of others or certain models. Additionally, the fashion industry uses models or people who are lean or athletic body to advertise their products on the internet which influences the body images that are considered to be the best. There are various advertisements and ads in the social media platforms which indicate the desired body shapes that each person should have which acts as the image that all people are required to have (Fardouly and Vartanian 37).
The rise of well-being industry online has established a complete diligence of fitness celebrities within the social media. Several followers embrace the regimens for exercise and diet but the drive for clean eating and wellness has been directed more on deprivation and dieting. The majority of teens are media-literate regarding the magazines and movies thus they take the digitally changed images with a critical eye which manipulate their eating and exercise behaviors (Holmberg 27). According to NCED report, dieting traits are one of the risk factors for various eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and compulsive eating. Compulsive consumption is the outcome of rebellion against food which is the character that can quickly change to remorseless habit. Further, bulimia can start as the useful way of controlling weight gain but develops into the addictive malady that engulfs the victim and becomes the strategy of coping with emotional issues (NCED 121).
Last year research by Fardouly and Vartanian has indicated that several cultures have conferred status on the slim body size as the best body shape. People who are huge are not used in the fashion industry to advertise clothes and other products since they are perceived to be ugly (Fardouly and Vartanian 29). Furthermore, movie stars, celebs, and musicians demonstrate how skinny they are by either being in the gym or dieting which has been found to be the driver of deprivation traits. NCED also illustrates that social media persuades people that wrong eating behaviors are correct and natural. Besides, media confers hidden meaning of foodstuff and creates anxieties regarding being deprived in case an individual does not have particular body image (NCED 77). In various social media platforms, idealized shapes are presented which are invested with attributes of being desirable, attractive lovable and successful which leads to dangerous eating characters.
Further studies have shown that social media is toxic since highly interactive and visual while appearance is central to success. Collecting followers and likes provides an instant marker of popularity and achievements. The anonymous and interactive nature of the media means that the response is unfiltered and immediate where criticism and negative responses are often (Holmberg 31). Social media creates massive pressure on competition and appearance with other peers which leads to dangerous exercise and eating behaviors. The utilization of social media revolves around the body image since persons spend much time checking out how they seem when compared to their peers, celebrities, and friends. Moreover, the social media is full of different information regarding weight management, fashion and recommended body shape. However, the information may not be correct given that bloggers can post anything that appears to attract more viewers (Holmberg 25).
Conclusively, the issue of fashion industry slavery and impact of social media on the body image has been identified as one of the critical concerns in the current world. Weight management, eating disorders and desire to be attractive has gained attention from many people especially the underage and young adults who spend much of their time in social media. There have been food groups, forums, and blogs in the online platforms. The media is about appearance hence every person is keen to slim or shape his or her body in a manner that is regarded as the best. Moreover, the fashion industry has been found to influence how people perceive the recommended body image. Further, social media has been regarded as a toxic mirror given that the majority of its users are involved in dangerous eating habits.
Andsager, Julie L. “Research Directions in Social Media and Body Image.” Sex Roles Sex Roles 71.11–12 (2014): 21–43. Print.
Fardouly, Jasmine, and Lenny R Vartanian. “Social Media and Body Image Concerns: Current Research and Future Directions.” Current Opinion in Psychology Current Opinion in Psychology 9 (2016): 1–43. Print.
Holmberg, Christopher. “Food And Social Media -- A Complicated Relationship.” Huffington Post 1 (2014): 34. Print.
NCED. National Centre for Eating Disorders - The Media & Eating Disorders. Toronto, Ontario: National Eating Disorder Information Centre, 2012. Open WorldCat. Web. 13 Sept. 2017.
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