Social Media and Body Image

In the month of February, we highlight the awareness of Eating Disorders. “In the U.S., 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified.” (Wade,Keski-Rahkonem. & Hudson, 2011). With eating disorders on the upswing, young girls and boys are looking to peer pressured ideals and the ever present social media standards to gage the notion of what it means to be “enough”. The growing usage of social media, popular magazines, and even TV shows and commercial have been linked to increased anxiety, depression, and don’t forget anorexia and bulimia. In recent years photo editing and video imaging software has become ever so prevalent. These knew technologic advancements have forever shaped and changed online photos, magazine images and TV shows. For instance: The popular website “Pinterest” is a place where you can pin photos or videos to a board of your interest; and keep in mind – the main users of the website are females. On this site, you are able to the name the boards whatever you wish: maybe you search “Perfect Body” or Bathing Suit Ready” for example. Yep- those will yield results in the search engine! Pinterest has become a place for users to “pin” photos of their fantasy body-type with the company even acknowledging that this use of Pinterest has the ability to damage one’s self esteem. Currently under debate is whether or not to ban the word “thinsperation”. Girls and women today are bombarded by the social media industry and as opposed to a few generations ago, they don’t even have to leave their homes. Young women, women in general, need positive motivation, not degrading stimulation. If you are considering making a change via weight loss, look at yourself first and make sure you are making the decision for the “right reasons” (yep, let’s play the health card here). Give yourself some daily self-love and work to understand that you are beautiful, even with a few added pounds. Celebrate the things you love about yourself, this February. You do not need to look like a “fantasy body”. We want to celebrate the real you! Hmmm…I hear a challenge, what would it be like to pin real versions of healthy self-esteem and body image? Take a look in the mirror and think positively… self-love is always worth a pin.

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