Social Media Affecting Body Image


Social media has become more prevalent in today’s society and has become a form of communication for most teenagers. For many teenagers, having a big following on instagram is a way of creating a status of popularity but it can also have drastic side effects. Among most teenage girls, they see models on their explore page and strive to look like them or have a similar lifestyle they can share through their photos.

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Artifact Description:

The article, Selfie-Esteem: The Relationship Between Body Dissatisfaction and Social Media in Adolescent and Young Women,describes how Instagram is used as a fake self-promotion. The authors, Bindal Makwana, Yaeeun Lee, Susannah Parkin, and Leland Farmer, interviewed Essena O’Neill. Essena was a 19 year old internet star who deleted her Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube and other platforms in November 2016. The Guardian’s Mahita Gajanan decided to interview other young women and teenagers about how they viewed themselves and their levels of self esteem. Their findings showed that young girls spend their time obsessing over how many likes they have on a photo, how many followers, and making themselves appear more beautiful. These women also worry about if others will think differently of them when they are seen in real life and if they are less beautiful without any editing. Social media has become a core fundamental in today’s society. Instagram specifically, is a photo based site where most teenagers edit, add filters or other effects to their photos. There have been many different apps released to alter physical appearances, things such as waist size, eye color, blur blemishes/acne, or even hair color. The article also has statistics showing that teenage girls use photo based platforms more than teenage boys. 61% of girls use Instagram while only 41% of boys use this type of platform.

Explanation of Sociological Concepts:

Instagram can be a way of gaining an achieved status within society. A person can gain a status solely based on how many followers their account has or even how many likes. Someone can even experience a role conflict because the separation of having an online persona and a real life persona. Internet stars often talk about how it can be difficult to separate the two because they create this life that only shows luxurious aspects of it. Models that have big following on Instagram often promote their sponsorships or even their own brand. These people have two different roles that they have to balance in their life. Since having an ongoing role conflict and role strain can become very overwhelming and this is why internet stars often take breaks from social media. Taking these breaks allows stars to give their mental and emotional state a period of peace or just to make their life more manageable.

Becoming an internet star is a goal for some young women and can give them a sense of self-fulfilment. It can give girls these feeling because they have to work towards their goal of gaining a bigger following. Once they believe in themselves and know they can achieve this goal, they can work everyday to keep their following going. Instagram is another form of social interaction between people all across the world, but it can also create a structure among teenagers.

Artifact Analysis:

Upon researching this artifact, I came to the realization that my youngest sister, Desiree, is very concerned with her Instagram account and how other people see her. My sister is only 15 and shouldn’t be concerned with that. She agreed that she worries about her appearance and how others see her online persona and her real life one, which creates role conflicts between the two.

Desiree wants to create her own achieved status rather than keeping her ascribed one. She works to edit her photos and her appearance so the likes on her photos will climb and so will her follower count. The article also says that the increase in social media usage negatively affects young women and teenagers. As stated before, it creates body dissatisfaction and lowers self confidence. Instagram shows celebrities flashy lifestyle and portrays how perfect it can be.

As well as speaking from a personal point of view, when scrolling through Instagram as younger teenager I strived to have the lifestyle of the models shown in the media. The article also talks about the connection between the media and eating pathology which further extends to the relationship with media and body dissatisfaction. In middle school, I experienced being borderline from having an eating disorder just because I wanted to look like the girls I saw online. I also struggled with having role conflicts in my own life because society has conditioned me to believe that I have to perceive myself a certain way or even look a certain way as well. When I was dealing with the role conflicts, I decided that I was going to delete my account and focus on my life in the present instead of focusing on the opinions of others. Creating the disconnect between the media and who I am as my own person was relieving on my mental state. I eventually got to a point where I can seperate the two conflicts and almost make them one role that I have.

Artifact and Source Credibility:

The artifact does not seem to have any bias within in it rather than facts. All the authors of the article have reliable credentials and have gathered facts to support what they are talking about. All of the authors have a B.S. or a B.A. in Psychology from popular universities. The editor of the article, graduated in Clinical Psychology and wanted to study the effects and symptoms of mental disorders.

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Social Media Affecting Body Image. (2019, Apr 10). Retrieved September 27, 2022 , from

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