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Social Media and Body Image Essay

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The topic of this research paper will focus on how social media and advertising affect self-esteem and body image in both male and females of all ages. The Mental Health Foundation reveals its survey from the UK that “22% of adults and 46% of 18- to 24-year-olds said images on social media had caused them to worry about their body image.”

According to The Role of Facebook Affirmation towards Ideal Self-Image and Self-Esteem by Yokfah Isaranon “This study also found that moderate use between 31 minutes to 2 hours a day was the most optimal level that users would benefit from using Facebook, whereas heavy use for more than 2 hours a day was harmful for users’ self-esteem.” This topic is appropriate for communication research because people look up to what they see on social media whether it be an advertisement, a social media influencer, or even just a picture of their friend and get upset because they are not happy with the way they look compared to what they see on social media

Children’s minds are constantly developing so it is essential to make sure children encounter a healthy amount of social media because developing a negative body image or low self-esteem as a child could have a lasting impact in their adult life. According to The Children's Society, their The Good Child Report from 2018 found a lower sense of well-being among particularly female children who were “exposed to jokes or comments about other people’s bodies and looks.”

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Social media use is rapidly increasing with the growth of electronics making social media networks far more accessible and easier to use. It is crucial to understand that adolescents beliefs about the way the look is closely related to the role of social media. A recent study that focused on female high-school students found that exposure to popular teenage websites and other media outlets were associated with greater internalization of their appearance ideals, appearance comparison, drive for thinness and weight dissatisfaction (Tiggemann and Miller 2010). Research that analyzed the content of advertisements on popular internet sites suggests that advertising on the internet perpetuates stereotypical ideals of female beauty standards which ‘‘could have a detrimental impact on how (women) feel about their bodies’’ (Slater et al. 2012, p. To focus more on males, a study was conducted to find out how high school teenage boys felt about their bodies. “While most research on the effect of social media on body image has involved women, men also have body-image struggles. A survey of more than 2,000 Canadian male high-school students found that about 30% were dissatisfied with their bodies. Although some wanted to lose weight, the majority wanted to gain weight. Males tend to be more concerned about muscularity and how to gain bulk (Sampasa-Kanyinga et al. 2016)” 339).

Body image in adults can also be related back to social media. Once your body stops growing, adults have to pay more attention to what they eat. If they do not, this could lead to having poor body image and self esteem . Unfortunately, the thinness we see on social media is not realistic and the women are thinner than the women we see in real life. “A survey of 600 Instagram images indicates the vast majority of pictures showed only one body type: thin and toned” (Tiggemann & Zaccardo 2016). Repeated exposure to these idolized physiques leads us to believe that lean, toned bodies are normal, attainable, expected and central to attractiveness. e end result: overwhelming dissatisfaction with one’s own body (Grabe et al. 2016). And we all know what that leads to: dieting that can be more harmful than helpful.

Social media can affect a person's self esteem and body image in many ways at multiple ages.

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Social Media and Body Image Essay. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from
“Social Media and Body Image Essay.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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