Currently…Body image issues

Body image issues resulting from social media usage

More and more teens are beginning to suffer from body image issues as social media becomes more prevalent in their lives. Everyone is looking for that “perfect body” and we see marketing that targets these teens with low self-esteem on almost every social media platform.
On YouTube, there are thousands of “get skinny in two weeks” workout routines. On TikTok, people share what they eat daily which is almost never enough for a sustainable living, and on Instagram, influencers share their doctored up images, portraying themselves to have this perfect body. It’s no surprise that in this culture, the mental health and body image of teens has been impacted so much.
According to a survey done by Park Nicollet Medical Center of Seventeen magazine’s contents found that the majority of the pages are devoted to articles about appearance. They also found that women’s magazines have 10 times more content about weight loss than men’s magazines do. This shows that the media is focusing on women’s low self-esteem and profiting off of it.
This is not to say that men don’t struggle with their body image as well, all this shows is that women are targeted more for it. In fact, a study conducted by the Florida House Experience revealed that 65% of men compare their bodies to images on social media and 34% of men are not satisfied with their body.
The statistics are even more alarming in children, according to Park Nicollet Medical Center 47% of American elementary school girls said that photos on the media have made them want to lose weight. This is extremely worrisome because body image issues, especially at young ages, often lead to social anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Many people do not realize how big of an issue this really is, by age 17 over 78% of American teenage girls feel unhappy with their bodies and the media does relatively nothing to help or raise awareness for these teens.
There are ways that we as individuals can work to correct this for ourselves. The BBC recommends that we change the focus of our feeds on social media; meaning that we unfollow people with heavily edited, unrealistic posts and replace that with your interests or hobbies like dance or animals. Many people have come to rely on social media for everything, including myself, but taking a break and distancing yourself from it, even for a short period of time, can be more beneficial than you may think.
Following the body positivity movement on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter is another good way to distance yourself from mainstream media’s toxic atmosphere. This movement not only normalizes all body types but also advocates for mental health and you can find various resources to mental health outlets all over their socials. As a society, it’s important that we work to spread awareness about the toxicity of mainstream media and how it negatively impacts our adolescents.