a 21st-century problem

EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON BODY IMAGE PERCEPTION

The Problem:

1 in 5 of college students admitted that they have or previously have had an eating disorder. 

However, according to a study done in 2011, the rate of which students have said they struggle with an eating disorder rose from 7.9% to 25% for males and 23.4% to 32.6% for females over a 13 year period.

THE question:

 Why?In a time period that is commonly referred to as the most "progressive" generation, why are the rates of eating disorders rising? What has changed that has lead to a culture of self-hatred and body shaming? 

THE Theory:

Although there are many deep components that would contribute to why someone would have a negative self-image when it comes to their body, one aspect we think contributes is the rise of social media. We live in a world where people are constantly performing for an audience of friends and strangers alike via their phone, computer, etc. 

A visual generation:

A visual generation:

Media is nothing new. Traditional forms of media have been around for centuries, such as newspapers and even magazines, so why is social media any different? It is deceptive that people believe social media is somehow more authentic than seeing people in magazines. It's easy to dismiss the people you see in magazines to be airbrushed, photoshopped versions of their real selves. However, with self-publishing, everything appears "real". But what about filters and editing applications?  Even the most "perfect" celebrities have been found guilty of altering their image to seem more appealing. But that isn't really who makes you feel self-conscious, is it? It's acquaintances in bathing suits. It's seeing "average" day-to-day people looking like the models you see in magazines. Maybe there is truth behind the cliche, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Maybe they​'re not all positive. 

The leaders of visual social media:

Instagram:

Snapchat:

Tumblr:

Facebook: