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Don’t get squeezed in: students should avoid social media trap regarding body image

Kate McNeal

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Open Instagram and click on the “Trending” feed. Pictures of models in bikinis, body builders flexing, and even peers showing off what is believed to be the “ideal” body flood the screen. Encouraging comments like “Wow, you look so good” and “Dang, you have such a good body” build up the poster, but force the other viewers to think, “How do I look compared to that?”
Social media provides a unique outlet for teens to share the things that they do and love. But rather than a shame-free place to see what your friends have been up to, every post is meticulously edited before being posted, inspected to ensure the picture is as flattering as possible. The use of editing apps ups the ante, allowing posters not only to blur out imperfections but also change their body shape and appearance.
Because of the pressure to look perfect in every post, social media has become another place for teens to feel self-conscious and another place to be judged.
Nowadays on social media there are “right” times to make posts in order to get the maximum number of likes. The more likes one receives, the more accepted that person feels. We as a society should not be defined by how many likes we have on a post. The entire point of social media is to share unique experiences and opinions, not attempt to fit into a stereotypical body in order to feel accepted.
And the problem with trying to fit into stereotypes is not that stereotypes are untrue but that they are incomplete. They make one story the only story. No one can be defined by one post or one experience. Everyone has layers, and everyone has different qualities that cannot be shown in one tweet or one Instagram post.
To seek validation from others who often times unconsciously “like” the ideal body is wrong. An understanding must be reached that all people have value, no matter how they look. Gaining confidence from receiving a record number of likes isn’t a bad thing, but it shouldn’t define self-worth and definitely should not be a weapon to damage an individual’s body image.
Social media’s influence is inevitable. But instead of it negatively influencing how we view ourselves, it should solely be a way for people to share their lives, without the fear of being judged for how they look.
The world is ever-
changing; and people are becoming more and more accepting of different cultures, ethnicities, genders and many other things.
Now is the time to begin accepting those who don’t fit the stereotypical “ideal body.”

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Don’t get squeezed in: students should avoid social media trap regarding body image