Hourglass

OPINION: Destruction of a healthy body image | Opinion

“I am too fat.”

“Why do I have cellulite on my thighs? »

“I need to get rid of my lower belly fat because this girl doesn’t have any.”

Unfortunately, these phrases have become the norm for young women. These days, women, especially those of high school and college age, find themselves in this mindset and making comparisons about themselves.

Whether it’s a strong aversion to a microscopic dimple or a socially constructed obsession with hips, young girls and women are increasingly obsessed with a false image of the “perfect body”, an image that social media has perpetuated over the past decade.

From hourglass body types and slick bikini pics to images of the perfect buttoned nose and full, often botox-injected lips, social media is pushing what some may to call the “ideal body type”. Influencers like Tammy Hembrow and Negin Mirsalehi are prime examples.

Hembrow, a fitness guru, regularly posts pictures of her extremely thin waist and lingerie. Mirsalehi, a fashion and haircare entrepreneur, is never seen without lush hair, flawless skin and a toned figure.

While these ladies aren’t your typical celeb, they represent the content that women are exposed to every day. The result is an expectation that we too should look like them at all times if we want to be truly beautiful.

The excessive time students spend on social media daily and the altered content they consume has made social media a powerful vehicle for body image issues.

To research shows that many female students use apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. These apps often display body types that are not realistic for many and viewers may find themselves making comparisons. As a result, they often develop body image issues that affect their psychological and mental health, compounding anxiety in addition to academic and social stressors.

The average person spends about 145 minutes a day on social media, but that figure is surprisingly higher for Gen Z women at 5 hours a day. It’s easy to imagine the number of supermodels, health gurus and celebrities women are exposed to on a daily basis and why they are behind the rebuilding of the young female psyche.

For women at the University of Georgia and other colleges, many of us don’t realize how extensive the process of photo tampering on social media is. Photoshopping and strategic posing are real and accessible tools that many online personalities use to enhance their body images.

Lara Bassil, a fashion merchandising major, points out that social media, if overused, can easily create a toxic environment for people with low self-esteem, especially when women follow more users. more viral.

“Social media has had a negative impact on my body image because of the constant comparison,” Bassil said.

If any of you have fallen victim to the “perfection phenomenon”, you are not alone. Despite being a very confident person, I have come across fitness models and celebrity photos that look absolutely flawless. At the time, my reaction was often, “Why can’t I look like this? How are her legs so soft?

However, when I see a normal photo of them on the street, unfiltered, unphotoshopped and untouched, I am brought back to reality. “Real” celebrity photos let me and millions of other women see that “body goddesses” have flaws too.

Why? Because they are human.

It takes a conscious effort to mentally counter body image issues that can come from social media. The sad reality is that many college girls don’t realize that blemishes are normal.

Although the creation of online platforms has enabled a level of global connectivity never seen before, I am convinced that the longevity of their damaging effects on women’s body image will be more dangerous than society realizes.

While there is little we can do to control our social media content, we need to teach young women and girls that what they see on almost all forms of social media is not realistic.

Whether it’s school talks, family conversations, or even national celebrity-backed movements, changing the discourse on what’s considered “perfect” will help women of all ages finally feel more comfortable. in their skin.