Social media is an internet-based form of communication which is used by everyone — from three-year-old children to 80-year-old adults. It has many positive aspects, but along with those, there are negative aspects as well. One of those being body image issues in teenagers, especially in girls.

These days, most individuals have body image issues when they compare their own body to those of others in terms of size, physique or appearance. This is a growing problem in teenage girls and various researches show that social media is one of the biggest reasons for this.

There are many social media apps that we use on daily basis, one of which is Instagram. Although it is one of the best apps that is helping in people growing and promoting their businesses, activities, gatherings, social services, etc, it is an image-centric platform that is ruled by pictures of celebrities, most of whom have more-or-less the same shaped bodies.

Female celebrities have “zero figure bodies” or thin and curvy bodies, which promote the concept of them having the “ideal figure.” The pictures which are posted by them are often photoshopped or edited, making them look like they are the epitome of grace and flawless beauty, when in reality, it can be the opposite.

These celebrities wear the same type of clothing and have more or less the same type of hair, skin tone, face shape and sometimes even the same eye colour, refuting the idea of diversity by promoting the brands and the pictures they post, yet they support it in interviews.

Such pictures and posts promote the concept of perfection. If you notice, not a single pore or pimple can be seen on the faces or bodies of models and actresses. It feels like they are out of this world creatures with no flaw in any way at all.

Because celebrities don’t go against the trends, fearing that they might look odd, therefore, they stick to the same stereotyped builds, hair colour, etcetera, knowing that as public figures, they have to show the world that they are perfect.

So what happens is that when youngsters, especially girls, go through such content over and over again, they eventually compare themselves to them. No matter how strong-minded a person is, looking at just pictures of perfect males and females does affect them unconsciously.

You might have seen such youngsters, who make sure they are taking pictures from a perfect angle in which they are looking ‘thinner’ for girls and ‘muscular’ for the boy. They think it makes them look “trendy” or beautiful, just like their ideals.

But in reality, when girls and boys look in the mirror, they find their face and body is different from the ones they follow on social media which, as a result, develops in them the feeling of inferiority and insecurity. And they become vulnerable to the insults of others and instead of standing up for themselves, they soak it all in. Some go to the point where they start having anxiety about going out and think they will look bizarre. So they become reclusive.

These problems can be solved through limiting screen time, while celebrities should be more mindful about what they are promoting. They should not be afraid to show their real skin so that they can be representatives of diversity. By being themselves, they can be the ones to finally make people accept how much diversity there is on earth, and how beautiful it all is when you accept yourself as you are.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 21st, 2022

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