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How The Internet Influenced The Way We Perceive Body Standards

Millennial Magazine- body standards

The way we perceive beauty has been changing over the years. In the past, models and actors were all thin with perfect hair. This is no longer true today because of how media outlets like Facebook and YouTube have changed our views on body standards. The internet has opened up a whole new world to us that we never even knew existed before! Now people can watch tutorials on how to do makeup or learn about fashion trends from their favorite bloggers all in one place online!

“Fit” and “Healthy”

In this sense, people who are trying to promote body positivity may fall into the same trap of promoting an unrealistic image that is unattainable for many users. There are, of course, several excellent fitness and health influencers on social media who advocate for a healthy mentality and offer fantastic “get rid of hip dips” routines. By focusing specifically on weight loss or gain goals with a particular look in mind, it can still lead back into issues regarding standards and expectations. This becomes more complicated when looking at health-related content online.

While some argue that social media has helped contribute towards a rise in eating disorders by showcasing images of extremely thin models, others believe that sites like Instagram have done their part to help end such problems by showing users how these lifestyles do not reflect what they should strive toward achieving themselves.  It is important to remember that social media has done its part in promoting awareness of body image issues, but it should be seen as one tool among many rather than a definitive solution.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying can be defined as the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others. Additionally, it can be defined as a form of bullying which occurs through email, text messages,s or social media. With the rise in technology and its use by children, cyber bullying has become more commonplace. It is an issue that has been receiving a tremendous amount of attention in the news and on social platforms such as Instagram.

Comments such as  “You’re fat, you need to eat a salad!” and “You look like a whale in that dress!” is an example of cyber bullying which lead to negative effects on the victim. As more and more people are becoming reliant on technology, it is important to stop cyber bullying before it begins. We can prevent cyber bullying from occurring by being mindful of what we say and avoiding hurtful comments that can have a lasting effect on those receiving them.

To prevent cyber bullying, these individuals need to be aware of their surroundings as well as the content they are producing. Additionally, parents need to become more involved in their child’s online life — monitor who they interact with and which websites/applications they use. Being active rather than passive when it comes to parenting will lead children down a safer path where they won’t fall victim or perpetuate such behaviors themselves.

Social Media

Social media has a large impact on the way we perceive body standards. Sites such as Facebook and Pinterest push people to portray themselves in their very best light, which often means digitally altering photos or heavily editing selfies before uploading them online. In this sense, social media can promote unrealistic expectations of beauty by promoting images that are unattainable for many users without professional photo retouching services.

Other large online communities such as Reddit have led to the rise of body-positive movements, which encourage people to see beauty in all shapes and sizes. While these efforts are incredibly important for encouraging acceptance, they can also promote a curvy or plus-size ideal that excludes those who do not fit within this mold. This poses problems due to its exclusionary nature, while still leading back into unrealistic expectations by promoting images that often reflect only one particular body type. For example, Pinterest’s search results page is filled with “curvy girl fashion boards” where every model depicted has larger bodies than average.

At the same time, it does nothing to acknowledge other types of body standards like weight loss or gain goals which are still a major part of the media and fashion industry. However, it is important to remember that body image issues affect many people regardless of how they look or what sites they visit online. While social media has certainly brought these topics into more public spheres for discussion, anyone who falls outside this narrow definition can still be made to feel as though their standards are unnatural or unattainable.

Eating Disorders and Mental Health

There is a clear link between social media and mental health, especially young girls who are engaging with these sites. The messages that they receive can be extremely negative to their self-esteem and body image. This makes them feel like the way one looks is not good enough; this then leads to developing an eating disorder (such as Anorexia) or other forms of mental illness such as depression. One in four children aged five to 16 has reported symptoms of at least one common mental health condition which includes anxiety, depression, panic attacks, or phobias.

On top of this, another study by GPs showed 46% also said digital pressures had triggered new signs of physical ill-health among patients under 20! Media has become part of our daily life and it is not always a bad thing as we do need to be aware of what we are putting out on social media. However, having more input from the government into how sites such as Instagram or Facebook use their power over users would help in terms of mental health (especially young girls). It’s very easy for children to access these accounts which can cause them harm if they’re not careful with who they follow etc. Having stricter rules by platforms like this would benefit our society today. As well as using your discretion when looking at images online!

The internet is a powerful tool that can have both positive and negative effects on society. How the internet influences our perception of body standards has been extremely influential in terms of how men treat women, as well as vice versa. We no longer live in an age where people are judged upon their physical appearance alone. Instead, we judge them based on their social media profiles and the degree to which they can present themselves in a flattering light.

What do you think?

Written by Eileen O'Shanassy

Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.

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