Social media has distorted the way we perceive real bodies yet most people are afraid to talk about it. Having an hourglass body with a small waist and big butt has become the new norm. There has been a drastic increase in people getting BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift) surgery or going to extreme lengths to photoshop their body in order to fit this standard. Instagram has become a hub for this body sculpting obsession and influences/ celebrities have played a significant role in creating this trend. These beauty norms are making some of us feel pressured to change our bodies. It’s undeniable that a lot of people especially young people are suffering from body dysmorphia and negative body image issues as a direct result of social media.
Before I delve into this topic, I want to send out a disclaimer that I am not against people getting surgery or using other means to change their bodies. If someone decides to change their body to make them feel more confident, that is their choice. They do not owe anyone an explanation into why they made that decision. I made this post to speak up on the pressures to look a particular way due to social media.
We can’t undermine the impact this popular trend is having on people’s psyche and their self-esteem. I have personally been affected by these pressures. When I started using Instagram, I became obsessed with losing belly fat so I can look more slim and curvy. I toiled with the idea of getting surgery to alleviate the pressure of having to stay a certain weight. I became super obsessive over my eating and spiraled into the crash diets to achieve instant results. Scrolling on Instagram and seeing these perfectly sculpted bodies made me feel worse about my body. Although I have agency over the way I feel about myself, constant exposure to these images changed my perception of my own body and I believe social media is partly to blame. After having conversations with a friend about my struggles, it made me realise that I’m not alone. People are scared to speak up talk about this endemic in fear of being judged. However, being honest and open about how we feel is very important for our overall well-being and to help others realise that they’re not alone.
My two big questions when it comes to people changing their bodies, is WHY? and most importantly, Would you have this surgery if social media didn’t exist? I want young women to know that their bodies are enough already regardless of whether it fits the standard or not. A person who is well sculpted is no better than you or no more attractive than you. Being the best version of yourself and rocky what you have is what makes you unique. Even though the pressure is super hard to escape, remind yourself that norms change constantly. Choose to live by your own standards and remember that social media is just a snippet of people’s life. Just because someone changes their body, doesn’t mean it will eradicate insecurities or exempt you from life’s problems. Don’t get caught up in the trends now that are forever changing and that can have a long term impact.
For influencers/ celebs who do decide to sculpt their bodies, just remember that people are looking up to you. You probably didn’t ask to be anyone’s role model but unfortunately what you choose to do affects others. You have a lot of power over shifting the culture. I believe we all have a social responsibility to the younger generation and we have to make decisions or at least have more conversations promoting body acceptance.
There’s no way to turn your nose up at your own body or to put these really small boundaries on what’s socially acceptable for body types that are displayed that should be celebrated and that you’re not turning around and turning your nose up at other people – Joulzy on Body Image and Insecurities.
To truly accept all body types, it’s important that we practice loving our own bodies. Believe it or not, having a negative self-body image has an impact on your perception of other people’s body types. If you are critical about your own appearance, for example; don’t like your bum size or belly, how would you look at others and genuinely think it’s beautiful? Practising self-acceptance is tantamount to loving others holistically.
Three tips help when getting overwhelmed over body image:
Social media break- Delete your apps or log out for at least a day every so often. Arrange social media free days. Taking a break is good for your mental and physical well-being. Being constantly exposed to these reel highlights of other people’s lives can eat away at your confidence if it’s already quite low. It takes the focus off what you look like and more into things in your daily life that are important.
Unfollow unrealistic body types & follow diverse ones- In order to feel better about your body, start following people with similar body types as your own or more diverse ones. The more you see yourself reflected online, the more you are inclined to accept yourself. Remember, you get to choose what crowd you engage with and what people on Instagram you decide to follow.
Learn more- learn more about your relationship with your body. Ask yourself this; how do I feel about my looks? What is my relationship with food? Where do those thoughts about my body come from? When you become clear on who you are and your own positive/ negative habits, it will help you to start developing a healthier relationship with your body.
Questions to you:
Have you felt pressured to look a certain way because of social media?
Would love to hear what you think!
Love, Ash <3