Social Media Distorts Body Image Perception - Pretty and All

Social Media Distorts Body Image Perception

How Social Media Distorts Body Image Perception and How We Can Aim to Change the Course of That

There are more than 3.6 billion people using social media worldwide, which means that it is a large part of most of our everyday lives to check our favorite social media platforms. However, what you may not realize is that constantly scrolling through Instagram can affect how you see yourself. Social media can distort your body image perception, which in turn can have a negative impact on your overall health. 

Some studies even show that the more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to feel worse about yourself and your body. However, there are some ways to mitigate the negative effects of social media on our mental and physical health. In this article, we will explore the relationship between social media and body image, and some ways we can all aim to change the course of this. At Pretty and All, you will see plenty of size-inclusive images featured in our collections.  

The Relationship Between Social Media and Body Image

Body image

Your body image is the way you see yourself, either when you look in the mirror, or when you picture yourself in your mind. 

There is a natural human tendency to compare our own appearances to that of our peers and those we see on social media. However, many people internalize those comparisons, which can lead to a negative body image. 

A negative body image causes unrealistic expectations for how our bodies should look. It can also lead to unhealthy behaviors, like eating disorders. When you have a negative body image, even reaching weight goals you set for yourself or other expectations often does not fix your mental state. Many healthy weights now seem overweight to many women because of the images they see on a daily basis on social media and online. 

The connection between social media and body image is not just a theory. A 2018 study found a correlation between the amount of time spent on social media, negative body image, and disordered eating. Sadly, disordered eating is rapidly on the rise, especially among women in their 20s. 

Social media is full of people who are sharing only the very best photos of themselves, or photos that have been edited and filtered to portray themselves in the best light. This can lead to a negative body image for many people. 

How Social Media Hurts Body Image 

social media body image

Because we spend all day looking at other people’s best images, it can be hard to avoid images and messages that negatively affect your body image. It’s not your fault! We all do it. Here are a few reasons why social media makes us feel badly about ourselves:

Constant Comparisons

One of the ways social media can hurt your body image is by exposing you to images of “idealized” body types. It’s only natural to compare yourself to others, but we end up creating completely unrealistic ideals for ourselves based on what we see on social media. When we can’t meet those expectations we set for ourselves, we get upset and feel badly about ourselves. 

Photoshop and Other Filters 

Another aspect of social media that contributes to negative body image is all the Photoshop and other filters that are commonly used to change or edit the images we see on social media on a daily basis. What appears to be a real photo has actually been heavily edited. This can be confusing and misleading. 

“Fitspo” and “Thinspo” Culture

“Fitspo” is a term that describes a (disturbing) trend that describes the social media accounts that encourage followers to be thin and fit. While fitspo is content that is meant to be motivating for other people to get fit, and that sounds harmless, there is a downside to all the skinny, toned, beautiful women who sell protein shakes, lift weight, and model activewear lines who dominate our social media feeds. While fitspo might mean to be motivational, it can actually leave many people feeling worse. 

How to Improve the Regular Woman Body Image

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Though there are some negative effects of social media on our body images, there are ways to counteract the negative effects of social media on your overall mental health without giving it up altogether. 

Take a Social Media Break 

It’s healthy to take a social media break now and then. If you realize you feel worse while you’re scrolling through Instagram, try taking a step back and see how you feel without your phone for a few minutes. Some people try deleting social media apps from their phones on weekends for a break

Unfollow Accounts That Don’t Make You Feel Good About Yourself

Though scrolling social media can be a mindless activity, try paying attention to which accounts make you feel badly. Then, hit the unfollow button! 

Find the Right Community

Replace the accounts you unfollow with ones that make you feel better. Maybe fitspo isn’t inspiring to you, but there is another niche that you love. Focus on only following accounts that make you happy, perhaps like body-positive accounts that can help shift your mindset regarding your body. Check out the apparel on our Pretty and All website to see images of real women wearing our apparel. 

How Body Image Can Affect a Person’s Health

A negative body image can actually lead to various medical conditions and negatively affect your health. Negative body image can lead to depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and even eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. Many people who suffer from negative body image might restrict their eating or exercise too much, and obsess about their weight in an unhealthy way. The truth is, that many different body types and sizes are all healthy! 

Pretty and All is a Size-Inclusive Boutique

If you are looking for a website with photos that won’t skew your mental health and body image, you’ve found us! Pretty and All is a size-inclusive boutique that features very real women on our website. Our goal is to create a fun place for every woman to shop, see themselves reflected, and find something they love and can’t wait to wear.