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Unrealistic Standards on Social Media and Body Image

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Words: 1344 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 1344|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Impact of Beauty Standards on Body Image
  3. Beauty Standards and Pressure on Men
  4. Positives and Negatives of Social Media
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works Cited

Introduction

Modern social media is one of the biggest influences on today’s adolescents and the unrealistic beauty standards that the media is setting for the next generation is unhealthy. Some of these standards consist of young girls playing with the blonde and skinny Barbie dolls that were supposed to be deemed “beautiful and perfect”. The sad part about it though is that most people don’t even realize how much it is affecting the youth; and if they do understand, they simply don’t care. Young people don’t have many positive or realistic role models to look up to. Even in childhood, they are faced with the thought that they have to live up to something that no one could ever reach. So many young people adopt eating disorders and mental health issues because these standards put so much pressure on them to be something that they aren’t. People of all genders struggle with the pressure to be “perfect” but what modern media deems “perfect” just simply isn’t good for people. This is not what today’s youth should be focused on or worried about.

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Impact of Beauty Standards on Body Image

Most people somehow don’t understand what body image is and how it affects people. In the words of Margaret Scott “Body image is the way a person perceives how his or her own body looks… it can affect and change the way one feels about one’s body and the way the person behaves.” Everyone sees their own body differently than how someone else would. Everyone is their own worst critic so when they see all the other people to compare themselves to, it makes them feel as if they are not enough. “The media promotes an unhealthy image of beauty, in particular, of women that is damaging to society. The changing perspectives on body image since the late-twentieth century have ultimately developed into an obsession with super thinness. (Chittom, Finley)” The pressure that the media puts on young girls to have to look thin and “pretty” are driving so many girls to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia to try and conform to the unrealistic societal standards of beauty when in reality they are just putting themselves in harms way. The people who can afford to get these plastic surgeries often times do, but when they do they are frowned upon because they aren’t naturally “perfect”.

Beauty Standards and Pressure on Men

Sadly for many people who can’t afford to buy their “beauty” turn to those disorders and many of them die because of them. Some people end their own life because they think that they will never be enough. But it isn’t only the women who have to deal with these standards and harsh morals, “The climactic scene in The Wizard of Oz where Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal a nervous, tragic man pretending to be the Great and powerful Oz represents a powerful metaphor for looking at masculinity in a new way: not as a fixed inevitable, natural state of being, but rather as a projection, a performance, a mask that men often wear to shield our vulnerability and hide our humanity. (Katz 429)” Majority of men struggle with body image and self esteem. This scene in The Wizard of Oz really brings to life the realization of what men feel on a daily basis when faced with modern media.

Men tend to have to be forced to always be manly and if they do anything that makes them seem “weak” they are not manly enough or they aren’t manly at all. Every guy the media presents to the public is always tall, muscular, and tan. They always have perfect hair and a chiseled jaw line when in reality, most guys are a little soft or not as toned as the media makes them out to be and they might just be average height but what does that matter. “As women or men read fashion magazines or …, they encounter more naked or semi-naked male and female bodies than they would otherwise. These bodies look perfect because of airbrushing techniques and plastic surgery..., our views of what women and men should look like are shaped by these unreal images. (Ballaro, Wagner)”

Positives and Negatives of Social Media

These days, the idea of having to have the perfect body that could only be achieved with the help of plastic surgery and a computer are shoved down the throats of people, no matter where you look, even in normal TV commercials, everyone has the same slim airbrushed look. Many of today’s top brands us models who have had plastic surgery and airbrushed photos to promote their merchandise to the public and many people will see the advertisements and think that if the clothing doesn’t fit them the same, then something must be wrong with them, “The importance of the image in media studies coincides with the rise of publicity, advertising and ‘public relations’. Typically, this involves a ‘brand’,... that is carefully controlled, through marketing and advertising agencies or ‘image consultants’,... (Jones, Holmes)” Without the media, so many brands would go out of business, like Victoria’s Secret, J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, etc. photoshop their photos so much to the point to where their models look like completely different people. This is what today’s society has to live up to, and an unrealistic standard that not even the “best of the best” could ever live up to.

On the other hand of all the negatives that come with social media, some people use the images as a goal to help them get to where they want to be physically in life. A lot of the times, people could also find how to reach their goals through the images on the internet. Some people will look at the people in the media and think to themselves “That’s what I want to look like, I’ll work hard now so I can look like that later in life.” and in that case, the body image in the media could be considered a good thing. Many young girls look up to women like the Kardashians for what they think their bodies should look like and looking like that makes some people happy. When people have those prominent features, it makes them feel better about themselves and sometimes it helps them find love easier. The body images in media make people who are living unhealthy lifestyles want to be better thus leading them to become better. Many Instagram influencers share their weight loss journeys through their instagram feeds and they inspire so many people to begin their own journey to weight loss and when they do so they become so much happier. There are always two sides to every story.

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Conclusion

Modern social media has some good qualities like helping people find and reach their goals in life, but most of the time, it just tears so many people down to their breaking points. Majority of modern media isn’t real, whether it’s the news or the faces of the people you are seeing; literally. So many young people die from eating disorders they have gained from trying to live up to the standards of the media. Some people even turn to suicide because they look at the media and they compare themselves to that and they think that they could never be good enough and they think that ending it all is the answer. It’s harsh but it’s the truth. No one should ever underestimate the power of the media and how much it could affect someone.  

Works Cited

  1. Ballaro, B., & Wagner, A. (n.d.). Body Image in the Media. In Media and Society (pp. 72-83). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9c5e/fd5f8909bbbc8d95aa3f0a1a774f67f5943f.pdf
  2. Chittom, L., & Finley, L. (n.d.). The Role of the Media in Body Image Concerns among Women: A Meta-Analysis of Experimental and Correlational Studies. In PsycEXTRA Dataset. Retrieved from https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2005-13251-003
  3. Jones, J., & Holmes, S. (n.d.). Image, Brand, and the Media. In Introduction to Public Relations (pp. 167-186). Retrieved from https://www.dawsonera.com/readonline/9781317619674
  4. Katz, J. (2017). The Wizard of Oz and Performance of Masculinity. In The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction (pp. 425-435). Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fsg_DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA425&dq=the+wizard+of+oz+masculinity&ots=iaYkkN6Crx&sig=H8EfU6UhflBbcwCg3LSgllFJNL8
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Cite this Essay

Unrealistic Standards on Social Media and Body Image. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 24, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/unrealistic-standards-on-social-media-and-body-image/
“Unrealistic Standards on Social Media and Body Image.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/unrealistic-standards-on-social-media-and-body-image/
Unrealistic Standards on Social Media and Body Image. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/unrealistic-standards-on-social-media-and-body-image/> [Accessed 24 Feb. 2024].
Unrealistic Standards on Social Media and Body Image [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 04 [cited 2024 Feb 24]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/unrealistic-standards-on-social-media-and-body-image/
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