The relationship between social media and body image is one I have revisited on several occasions, on here, on a project I did for university, and for one I completed in college.
Despite my frequency in dabbling with this topic, it continues to spark conversation.
And not in a good way.
An article from York University suggests that young women who use social media on a consistent basis tend to compare themselves to those they find more attractive, worsening their perception of their own body image in the process.
Researchers from York have released a study titled “The effects of active social media engagement with peers on body image in young women,” which appears in the journal Body Image. Conducted by Jennifer Mills and Jacqueline Hogue, the study addresses women aged 18 to 27 who often comment on images via social media that depict women whom they believe to be more attractive than themselves.
The study involved 118 female undergraduate students from different ethnicities. The following excerpt comes directly from the article linked above.
“Participants were then randomly assigned into one of two experimental conditions. One group of participants were asked to log into Facebook and Instagram for a period of five or more minutes and find one peer that was the same age who they felt was more attractive than themselves. After looking at the photos, each participant was asked to leave a comment of their choice. In the control group, participants were asked to do the same task except this time comment on a post of a family member whom they did not think was more attractive than themselves. The data showed that participants’ views of their own appearance were not affected when interacting with their family members.”
What I find the most upsetting about the results of this study is how strongly women correlate their own worth with what others look like. Comparing oneself to the image of another is mentally and emotionally burdening, in my own experience, and this study demonstrates the prominence of this issue in contemporary society.
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