BBC News Report 2016
THE SEARCH FOR PERFECTION THROUGH SELFIES, FILTERS AND HASHTAGS
Celebrities are often posting pictures of themselves on social media. They are showing the world how “perfect” they are. But does this affect how young people think about their body image? It shouldn’t, but social media does have a tremendous impact on the average person’s everyday life.
A recent study has shown that social media can have a negative or obsessive impact on young women and teenage girls. They are starting to produce negative thoughts about their appearance.
For decades, people have debated the negative and positive ways images we see on social media change the way we perceive ourselves. It can even be damaging when it comes to beauty, fitness and body image expectations.
Studies have shown how women portray themselves on social media. It showed:
• women posted around 5 million negative tweets in 2014;
• four out of five negative self-image tweets from women were about themselves;
• women are 50% more likely to post something negative (rather than positive) about their appearance.
Should we really judge ourselves on what we see posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat by celebrities? Most of the pictures we see are airbrushed and edited using filters. It can affect our social, mental and emotional health. People can become anxious and depressed if they are continuously subjected to images of perfection.
It’s not always celebrities that make young women want to be perfect, but sometimes even our friends can have an impact on how we think about ourselves and the way we look.
According to Common Sense Media’s Body-Image study, teens that are active online worry about how they are perceived. They see pictures when scrolling through the media and it makes them question what they look like themselves. This calls into question the power and influence of opinion leaders such as celebrities like Kim Kardashian who do not take responsibility for their actions.
School girls are increasingly anxious about appearance and body image. In P.E. teachers have had to introduce sports leggings and jogging bottoms rather than shorts, because many girls feel like they are embarrassed to show their legs. This could all be because of social media and its impact on self-image.
These pictures posted on social media could be more positive and help people to look up to the celebrities posting the pictures instead of trying to be like them. Women should be able to feel happy with the way they look, instead of feeling like they have to look “perfect”.
There also could be more role models but instead of people who wear loads of makeup and Photoshop their pictures, they could be more realistic ones who are natural and don’t edit their pictures. Fearne Cotton, Radio DJ and mother, posted an image of herself make-up free to show the reality of her life and support a more positive influence towards other women and young girls. We could do with more of this.
BBC News School Report 2016