Exploring The Effects of Social Media Use on the Body Image Argumentative Essay

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Media and society are really close each other. The impact of media can easily be seen nowadays. The purpose of this analysis is to provide a detailed understanding of body dissatisfaction among men and Women by looking at how the media makes us to believe what they show is perfection and make us feel uncomfortable about our body type. Today I find most people obsessively worried about their body image. We all have a part of our body that we want to change, change it to something that we see what is called perfection on the media. Lots of people are constantly living with an awful feeling about how they look. Everything from height to weight, body measurements, and body shape has become an important part of this ideal. Body dissatisfaction is a main concern among both genders for example, women and young girls are highly jugged on their weight and appearance where as men are judged more on their masculinity and muscularity. Key words: Body image, health, objectification


The purpose of this study is to analyse the effects of social media and magazine use on body image. I wanted to focus my analysis on how the media effects on the way women observe body image. The models and celebrities that we idolise are not to blame for a women’s poor body image.There are so many ways about how the media can convey beauty ideals, including skin, facial features and hair. The “perfect” body that media highlights is the idea that thinness is a good and desirable thing to be. We all have a slightly different idea of the “perfect body” image. But, we are deeply influenced by our social pressures and different forms of media. The society we live in expresses us what kind of body we need to have in order to be beautiful. As the Media is an important topic, there are so many different types of media, different ways in which people get pressured by. Some of these types include magazines, books, movies, newspapers, radio, television and the internet. More often women are portrayed as the ‘thin ideal’ without imperfections. I will focus on looking at magazines and Social media, how social media can be dangerous body image environment. particular adverts, and how they portray beauty and how we then observe the Medias idea of ‘perfection’.“All we’ve ever wanted, Is to look good naked, Hope that someone can take it, God save me rejection, from my reflection, I want perfection” (Robbie Williams, Bodies) come out in 2009 shows that there’s a lot of pressure of “perfection” everywhere and you need to have that “Perfect” body to be desired. Through the numerous music categories, rap is the one of the main and easiest genres to point out body image. In several rap songs, you will catch the words as “bad bitch, dime and red bone”. All these phrases are aimed to represent a woman and the majority of females want to reach the requirements to fit into these groups to be the “bad bitch” also describes as having the “perfect” body, with an “perfect” face and know how to get what they want to be successful, “red bone” as seem to have light skinned, with thick thighs, and “dime” used to objectify women’s as very attractive and rates as a 10 on a scale from 1 to 10. There’re also songs about how the media puts so much pressure on the society “Pretty Hurts” by Beyoncé and it shows how women try really hard to obey society’s beauty standard. In the music video, many people, including Beyoncé are represented as harassed with the negative body images. “Pretty Hurts” shows the bad influence of beauty standards. The music video encourages positive body images. “The soul is what needs surgery” which suggests that it’s not your face or body that needs to be change, you need to fix your soul which seems more important and not everything is about the looks.

In “Pretty Hurts”, the director illuminates the thoughts of beauty standards in the Western society by Beyoncé’s character. The society we live in now is more obsessed with our look, rather than what we do and how successful we are, it’s no wonder why women are physically and mentally abused by the Media. From my own view, I see more articles congratulating celebrities on losing weight rather than talking about their success. Constantly using the same figure of model, will stay in the mind of the viewer. This technique is called subliminal messaging. When these subliminal messages seen or heard, we are unable to identify what it is. In fact, they may be unnoticed by the mindful brain and be beyond the level of conscious perception. Negative body image of women is a very common nowadays! Young women always felt the need to be desired by society. idealised and sexualized imageries of fashion models, actors, celebrities also influence the way women dress. Therefore, this can be a lead to stress or anxiety for anyone who can’t afford to purchase the outfits they think they need to have it so they feel desired and have the gaze of their idols they see every day on a magazine cover or any celebrities they face with on social media platforms.Manipulated and Underweight model’s images of the “Perfect” body is everywhere. The sign of this pressure is very clear when you look at how young men and women portray their images on social media, young women’s going for the overtly sexual looks and young men focus on the strong, muscly and aggressive content. People spend a lot of time checking out how they look compared with others such friends, peers, the strangers they follow and celebrities – and spend a lot of time talking about appearance. “This unnatural thinness is a terrible message to send out, because the people watching the fashion shows are young, impressionable women,” said a former Victoria’s Secret model Frederique Van der Wal. They always want to be beautiful with a model typed figure and a have that perfect face they see on magazine covers. This impact of this idea is emotionally and physically unhealthy and can lead up too many problems which can lead up to suffering from low self-esteem, depression, self-harm, eating disaster, dissatisfaction, and body dysmorphic disorder.

“The promotion of the thin, sexy ideal in our culture has created a situation where the majority of girls and women don’t like their bodies,” says body -image researcher Sarah Murnen, professor of psychology at Kenyan college in Gambier, Ohio. Women are highly affected from the many things media promotes on body image and beauty. I believe magazine and social media has a huge impact of body image on women’s as they constantly compare themselves to the celebrities in the magazines and deciding whether they have an “acceptable figure” due to the ones they see on magazine covers. In my opinion it’s the mix of women’s obsession with celebrities and a low self-esteem that creates a negative body image. Body image involves of “a person’s perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about his or her body” (Grogan, 2008, p.03), while body dissatisfaction is defined as “a person’s negative thoughts and feelings about his or her body” (Grogan, 2008, p.04)

According to Jeremy Kees, a professor at Villanova University, considers that women likes to see attractive women in advertisements, even when makes them feel worse about themselves. “As women grow into adults, they realize their body becomes an object. They are judged daily on their appearance, learning quickly that thinness is something to be valued and appreciated; women come to learn that their bodies equate to societal meanings such as, lazy, inadequate, out of control” etc. (Bordo, 1993). “Flatten your abs Fast!” “Sexiest. Body. Ever. 4 Steps. 6 Minutes a day.” Most magazine covers I see have numerous headlines promising weight losing secrets or daily weight loss tips. It is very rare to see advertisement by average sized women. But instead, models have baby face, extremely skinny, yet big breasted at the same time, and have that perfect clear skin. It’s really impossible to see imperfect women with curves, stretch marks and unwarranted flaws.

It’s the unrealistic images we see every day in the media that contribute to our desire to be skinny and perfectly toned. We always have that feeling of something is wrong with how we look, but never anything wrong with models we see on the media every day the celebrities whom we admire. The pressure of the “perfect” body that society puts on women’s and teens and changes their point of view is absurd. There’s so many ways that that the Media can control teenage girls’ view of beauty. As there’s magazines use the same frame of model to promote clothing and will openly slate people’s bodies if they feel they are not “good enough.” Also, magazines will always show articles on how girls and women can change or correct themselves so that they are up to a standard that the Media thinks is acceptable. As humans, it has been known that we always want what we can’ have but is this just apart of our human nature? The idealistic images are shown in women’s magazines all over the world. Magazines sell body dissatisfaction to their consumers idealistic images of women, as well as how to dress for success, dieting and exercise information. Unrealistic beauty standards, dangerous comparisons and disorders have all been a result to the increase in social media and the impact that it has on the lives of young people.

According to Westerwick & Crane (1999), “In recent years there has been an increase in the difference between actual body shapes and the body shapes that are portrayed in the media as the thin ideal”. Thousands of years ago, even the artworks and sculptures were portrayed as curvy and thickset silhouettes. In the late 20th century, thin, unhealthy models filled the pages of fashion magazines. Marilyn Monroe, a size 14, had the “ideal” body shape and size, but in today’s standard that considers as large. Fredrick and Roberts theorize that women viewing themselves as objects can in turn lead to problems with mental health and the on-set of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Social media effects on Body image Social media is another dissatisfaction because it present unrealistic idea of what must look like to be perfect. Instagram and Facebook are the main examples, they allow us to show our own edited sense of reality, displaying only what we want to show others. Media encourages that a slim woman is attractive, wealthy, healthy, joyful, strong and pleasing the society. Women desires to have all of those things and starts to be and act more like the people they see on the social media. Also, ideal body has changed throughout generations. During the 1950’s, women had curvier and healthy physique than nowadays.

The ideal in the 1950’s was to be curvy with a small waist, and lately, the ideal body has changed to one of thinness which shows as “Perfection” on magazines and social media nowadays. “Social media often blurs the line between virtual and reality therefore creating ideas that women should look like the images they are viewing” (Klein 2013). The media portrays women as the ’thin ideal’ without any blemishes. These social media images are not only difficult to embrace yourself but can even be dangerous for mental and physical health. Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997 argues that girls and women subjects their body as an object to looked at, which than turns to body dissatisfaction and sometimes, even eating disorders. The way people present their images on social media can also add them problems for body image. People often struggle to present themselves in the best light, especially in relation to how they look. People frequently add filters or edit their selfies, taking many selfies before selecting the best one to post, and mainly worry more about the reactions of others. They can become stuck in a cruel world. They enthusiastically wait for “likes” and feedback from others, then feel disappointed if the wanted response is not approaching which than can make them feel even more anxious and worried about their appearance.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and snapchat and are full of images that reaches millions of views, likes and comments by the society. All these social media platforms have a harmful effect on the way we feel, and look but Instagram, with its heavy focus on imagery, puts a lot of pressure on women’s. The filtered and photoshopped photos that appear on Instagram we see every day are bound to hit many people’s self-esteem, Instagram is main the platform where we share #selfies and get loads of views and where that it encourages things such as flat stomach, small waist, thigh gaps, unhealthy fitness standards and sexual encounters, it’s ingrains in young women’s brains that they must look like this in order to be successful and desired which than makes them become external observers of their own body and begin self-objectification. Gordon (2008) claims that women begin to believe that their body belongs less to themselves and that it is public domain and open for evaluation and criticism. Some feminist theorists have stated that often the female body becomes rather of an object that is observed and evaluated or somewhat that exists “to be looked at” (Spitzack, 1990, as cited in McKinley & Hyde, pg. 182).

Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) have same thought about this theory. Fredrickson and Roberts (1997) claims that women begin to view themselves as someone else’s viewing them, in order to ‘fit in’ they try to obey with the cultural images of the idealised vision of beauty. They begin to feel that these views about their own body are in fact coming from within themselves and not the pressures they face every day on the media and magazine. We even get effected by the amount of likes on Instagram post or comment we get in the virtual world. Social media is where we look up to celebrities, actors, models and the people we think is a role model for us can lead up to engaging in repetitive behaviours like skin picking and visiting dermatologists or plastic surgeons hoping to look like what we see on the social media. The pressure of the media on “Perfect body” image can push women to go through plastic surgery. For example, The Kylie Jenner Challenge was gone viral in 2015 also known by the hashtag #KylieJennerChallenge, was a trend where teenagers were posting videos or photos of themselves attempting to enlarge their lips by a suction technique called “the shot glass effect” in order to imitate the look of Kylie Jenner. “The new trend in trying to DIY lip plumping is quite concerning. Not only can significant pain, swelling and bruising result from these suction techniques but there is potential risk for scarring and permanent disfigurement with repeated attempts,” Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologic surgeon, told Seventeen magazine.

Many people spend endless amounts money trying to look like their idol. A Kim Kardashian fan named Jordan James Parkehas spent $150,000 on plastic surgery to look like his idol. “I absolutely love everything about Kim Kardashian. I think she’s everyone’s guilty pleasure,” Parke says. “For me, she is the most gorgeous woman ever. Her skin is perfect, her hair is perfect—everything about her is perfect. There’s no one I’d rather look like.” Parke recently told The Sun newspaper. Parke hasn’t regretted about getting all the plastic surgery done. “I laugh when people try to insult me by telling me I look plastic or fake,” he said. “Do they think I’m going for the natural look? If I was, I’d ask for my money back.” “I think the influence of social media is enormous and cannot be overstated,” Dr. Miami told Highsnobiety.

“Ten years ago, women in their late teens and early twenties rarely sought plastic surgery, but now young people are doing it because they are seeing themselves on social media from different angles next to models like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian with curvaceous bodies. These celebrities have had surgeries and people come in to look like them.” (Floridian plastic surgeon Michael Salzhauer). “People trying to meet these ideals of the perfect body may do so by any means necessary, even if that means starving their bodies, or binging and purging and following strict nutrition regimens” (Cash & Smolak, 2012, p. 291).


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Exploring The Effects of Social Media Use on the Body Image Argumentative Essay. (2020, Sep 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/exploring-the-effects-of-social-media-use-on-the-body-image/



How has social media affect body image?
Social media has had a significant impact on body image, leading to increased pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards and causing many individuals to experience negative body image and self-esteem issues. The constant exposure to edited and curated images on social media can create a distorted perception of what is considered an ideal body, leading to a rise in body shaming and eating disorders.
How social media affects mental health and body image?
1. Social media can affect mental health by causing feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. 2. Social media can affect body image by causing feelings of inadequacy and comparison.
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