Instagram and Body Dysmorphia

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Instagram and Body Dysmorphia

This essay will delve into the relationship between Instagram use and body dysmorphia. It will discuss how the platform’s emphasis on aesthetics can affect body image and self-perception, particularly among young users. You can also find more related free essay samples at PapersOwl about Instagram.

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As the years have gone by and the rise of social media has gone towards a more image-based platform. Where we are constantly seeing photos of people, celebrities on our feeds ranging from selfies to fitsagrams (Instagrams focused on fitness) or in many cases influencer who are showing off products they want us to buy. With this rise in image-based media, we are starting to see a rise in body dysmorphia which is a mental disorder that causes one to focus on their physical flaws to the point that many people got plastic surgery to change their appearance.

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While this rise in body dysmorphia is often tried to combat with the body positivity movement which aims to make sure everyone’s body requires the same amount of respect as anyone else. But even with this movement, there are twice as many posts like Kim Kardashian’s diet lollipops ( a post that was taken down almost as fast as it was put up) that create unreal expectations for people and can cause this mental disorder. It’s not news to anyone who partakes in social media that it can be mentally damaging but studies have shown that Instagram is the worse social media platform for young minds.

In a UK study focused on the impact of social media, mainly focusing on Instagram and Snapchat as they were ranked the worst social media platform for young minds mental health. Shirley Cramer, Cheif executive of the Royal Society of Public Health said that “Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and is now so entrenched in the lives of young people that it is no longer possible to ignore it when talking about young people’s mental health issues, It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people” ( Lamb). As Cramer said social media isn’t just something that can be ignored by young minds, social media allows others to connect to one another from all over. But while social media has is positives young minds that are constantly exposed to altered images of people that create unreal expectations for what to look like and for young minds that can be very damaging as these unreal expectations aren’t only enforced by social but by celebrity or influencers who are often praised for being beautiful such as the Kardashian’s. Or in Snapchat ‘s case, it changes the way you look in photos through the real-time filters, while many of them are fun or silly.

Many of them are paid adds, such as many makeups adds that are used to show off a new product but they do more than that and actually have caused people to view themselves different to the point that cosmic surgeons have seen an uptake in the number of patients who want to look like they do or better in selfies. In addition to being exposed to images of people, people who use social media and post photos of themselves often will go to great lengths to get the right angle to get the best possible photo of themselves and even using photo manipulation apps to make them even better looking. While it is all fun to do this, to active the best you. It can actually cause people to change the way they see themselves. In the cosmetic surgery, community surgeons are seeing an increase in patients who want to look the way they do on Instagram or selfies. Statistics from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery say that 55% of facial plastic surgeons reported seeing patients who wanted to improve how they looked in selfies in 2011 which is an increase from past years (Willingham). This rise in cosmetic surgery is from the fact that people are seeing themselves more and more in the recent years causing this rise in the want to alter one’s appearance to look like they do in photos, which is already altered due to the fact that selfies are already changing the way that you look, as cameras distort the way you look in photos. This is noticed more in selfies due to the mirroring effect that the was images are compressed as to opposed to the way you look in a mirror. In addition to when you add filters and face tune, it even changes the way you look at yourself even more. Which is unfortunate toward the body positivity movement which strives to make people comfortable in their own body and make sure everyone’s body receives the same amount of respect as anyone else. Celebrities are often in the spotlight on social media due to the algorithm that often brings their posts to the front of peoples feeds making them seen whether you like to or not most of the time.

The most relevant event that has happened in the social media world is Kim Kardashian’s diet lollipop add which promoted this lollipop that suppresses your hunger. This ad brought a lot of backlash towards Kim as not only is she marketing a product that is dangerous in a candy form and Kim didn’t account for the influence she has over many people including young people. Kim was called toxic by many people. This is only the tip of the iceberg as Instagram is filled with ads and influencers who promote diet teas and pills and these reach young minds who feel like they need these products to meet societies expectations. Kim’s post was such a problematic post due to her influence she has over 120 Million people on Instagram as well as being a celebrity who has gone through the media making fun of her weight in the past and is now promoting a product that will make people skinny. Causing mental disorders such as body dysmorphia which in some cases can actually cause people to even go to the lengths of getting plastic surgery for the reason they want to look good on Instagram or Snapchat as seen in the recent rise in the want to look the way that they do in selfies. In the past few years, the rise of the social movement called the body positivity movement, which its purpose is to give everyone’s body the same amount of respect, as opposed to what many think the movement is about praising those who are on the heavy side and shaming the skinnier people. This movement is great in many ways, it tries to teach others how to give respect to everyone’s body no matter the condition they are in, as well as in many ways combatting the rise in body dysmorphia. By giving people convince to feel good in their body but this movement is always fighting the preconceived notions that they are trying to bring up a marginalized group by shamming the skinny people, this causes the movement to slow down in many ways, especially for the younger people who aren’t getting the support to feel comfortable and good in their own bodies and are constantly being bombarded with celebrities or influencers promoting products to change their body for the better and how they are not perfect. This is also said in the article “Act 2: Extending Theory on Social Media and Body Image Concerns.” from the journal Sex roles by Perloff, Richard who explains in his article how due to the constant media saturation women’s has caused women to become desensitized and has caused even more harmful body image effects (Richard) While the body positivity movement is being slowed down by those who don’t understand it, is causing the body positivity movement to not create a big impact on younger minds as the movement had intended, at least not yet.

Social Media is a beautiful thing, it brings people together from all over the world and allows people to see and experience things as well as bring awareness and start movements such as the body positivity movement. But all the good things only come so far. The negative parts of social media have caused people to develop body disorders and focusing on the flaws they may have to even the point where they may get cosmetic surgery to look the way they look on social media or use products that are or can be potentially harmful to the user and this rise in the use of dangerous products is only magnified by the desensitization of harmful body image that makes people think less of how they may be harmed and more of how they will be rewarded with a body that is seen as excitable in our society.

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Instagram and body dysmorphia. (2019, Jun 17). Retrieved from