Every morning, I scroll through TikTok and Instagram and find myself looking at another girl who I aspire to be. Her body is amazing, and her life seems so perfect, making mine seem dull in comparison. However, this is not an isolated occurrence as many young adults experience the negative impact that social media has on their self-worth. From perfectly created images to a lack of representation, social media has become harmful to mental health.
Social media platforms allow for each individual to curate their lives based on their best moments. From the outside, it seems like everyone else’s lives are more perfect than your own, which creates a pressure to do better. This false sense of perfection that social media conveys makes it seem like having a bad or off day is unacceptable or unnatural. The authentic and natural aspects of a person are hardly ever accurately represented on social media, making many young people feel like outcasts.
The most significant lack of representation on social media is a variety of body types. The most popular creators for all genders have perfectly toned and difficult to achieve bodies. These are the people who receive the most praise and support for their attractiveness and success. Since these are the only people being represented, it begins to look like the “normal” or “standard” body type is extremely fit and slim. This can make many young people feel insecure in their own bodies, because they aren’t seeing a representation of other people who are considered attractive like them.
The dynamic on many of these social media platforms is toxic when it comes to people posting themselves with what has been deemed as normal and healthy bodies. Many comments on these posts are backhanded compliments like, “you were so confident to post this.” These comments contribute to the issue because they make it seem like different body types are not normal.
Although there are many problems with the dynamic of social media in today’s world, many creators use their platforms to help break this pattern. Encouragement of body positivity and self-worth has become increasingly popular in recent months, and although a lot of work still needs to be done, positive changes are happening.