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As technology, social media in particular has advanced, it has be used in tremendous ways. Through it, childhood friends have been reconnected, important news has been shared, and wonderful ideas have been spread. But like many tools when placed in the wrong hands, technology can cause enormous destruction on both a personal level and on a societial level. Although some great advancements have been made because of it, Social Media is damaging culture by acting as an outlet for which cyberbullying, through the form of bodyshaming, is growingly prevalent and in turn fostering body image concerns particularly among young women.
Society has grown to glorify mainly thin and oftentimes unrealistic body types, changing the way women feel about their outward appearance. It is evident by the models companies tend to select to sellor promote a brand, that they are enslaved by the idea of this one, golden standard of beauty. When scroling through Facebook and seeing an advertisment or watching a commerical on Youtube, young women are constantly forced to look at slim and perfect body types many of which are often edited versions of the model’s real body. This in itself is the main reason as to why young woman have such a difficult time accepting and embracing their natural beauty. Another place where skinny women are glorified is on Instagram. Instagram “explore pages” tend to be scoured with posts by tall, thin, and tan “Instagram Models,” young women who are paid to promote a product, service, or brand on their Instagram profile. When all a woman views on social media is thin and unrealistic body types, one’s own idea of beauty is warped into a photoshopped and unattainable standard. A negative result of this is causing the many women who do not fit into this one specific mold to feel inferior, shifting the way they view their own body.
As one can conclude this is not only damaging the way women view their own bodies, it is changing the way men and women view the bodies of the women around them. When it comes to cyberbullying, one may find that “fat” or “body-shaming” is one of the most common forms of cyberbullying because of the strict beauty standards society has adopted. The reason individuals comment rude or shameful things on social media is perhaps because he or she is insecure about their own body. In addition, it surely does not help the fact that it is incredibly easy to comment something harmful without facing any serious consequences, for body shaming, in itself, is not illegal. What bullies fail to understand is that although they may not face any legal consequences, words leave a lasting impression on the individual targeted. Body shaming is demeaning and often times comes with long term consequences on the victim’s behalf.
Society as a whole, has allowed too many individuals to get away with posting shameful and degrading comments for far too long, contributing to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and life threatening eating disorders, especially among young people. Culture has become so obsessed with the number on the scale, or the pant size that someone wears that the health of the individual is often dismissed. Body Shaming through the form of cyberbullying, has serious effects on both the physical health and mental health of the young women targeted. The ways of body shaming can lead to eating disorders among people of all shapes and sized. In fact there have been studies that show when social media has been introduced in different parts of the world, some women admit to starving themselves. Mental health issues have also been linked to excess exposure to social media. After looking at media images depictingideal thin bodies, women experience an increase in anxiety, depression, and dissatisfaction with their own, unique body.
Body image concerns are rising particularly among young women, and a large reason for this can be attributed to society’s development of a specific beauty standard through bodyshaming on social media. Just as this issue has grown because of technology, it can be terminated by using social media in a positive way by furthering ideas of acceptance and empowerment. By calling out individuals and companies when they promote an unrealistic standard, society will eventually evolve into a more accepting and healthier one. The inspiring thing is that the power to change is conveniently located in every technology user’s hands.
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