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Social Media is wrecking the way teens see their bodies

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Social media makes teenagers feel bad about themselves and the way they look. Almost everyday we see pictures of girls such as models, instagram influencers, or anyone with photoshopped that have the perfect bodies and boys such as models and bodybuilders that have the perfect abs and muscles. Seeing this so often teens and young adults have an image in our brains of what our bodies are supposed to look like to be considered “perfect”. Seeing these pictures definitely makes teenagers feel bad about themselves because they don’t look like that. The influence that models and social media influencers have on teenagers and young adults is unhealthy and causes them to view their bodies as not fit to be loved.

Teenagers do not love their bodies because they think they do not match up to what is the definition of the “perfect” body. They feel like they need to work hard and take extreme measures to love their bodies and feel confident.

Seeing this makes teens go to extreme measures to look like the Victoria’s Secret models or body builders. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. According to the HealthLine the rates of anorexia and bulimia has reached 0.6% because of social media  which means nearly 2 million Americans will experience one of these eating disorders in their lifetime. Many young girls believe that they are overweight when they are in the perfectly healthy BMI range. Susan Freiderick said that “You say that it doesn’t matter and act like you don’t care but it makes you feel like you cant live up to that standard no matter how much you try even though you know in the back of your mind that it’s fake .”We see these pictures and we get the message that says thin is better and smaller sizes are the most attractive.

Brands are using social media and television to target their consumers and influence them to make a purchase. Many brands do a lot of their sales through social media ads or through social media influencers. There are billions of social media influencers all over instagram and twitter. Many young girls dream of becoming a social media influencer and they work hard to fit the part and make the brand notice them. Many teenagers or college age students with a large following count become a part of this and it ends up consuming their lives. They become so obsessed with being perfect online and having a good social standing. Lizzy Eaton said “I never post on instagram because everyone always has the perfect posts and I’m scared that I’m going to get judged for what I post or that it won’t get enough likes.” This can lead to ruined friendships, lack of focus on school, and too much time invested in social media.

Even though most of the media coverage is more focused on women, 10 to 15 percent of people with bulimia and anorexia are males. The media shown to men shows that men must have muscles and be buff if they want to have the “ideal” body that will attract women. Many men feel that if they do not have abs like the men they see in the commercials that they will not find someone or they might not fit in with their friends who are also buff and have “ideal” bodies.

Israel tackled this problem in 2012 when they passed a law requiring models to have a healthy BMI of at least 18.5. If the United States would follow this and restrict the amount of models seen that have BMI’s just above 16.0 they would see that they are not overweight.

Teenagers need to see more ads with women and men that have average bodies. This will help to eliminate the amount of eating disorders that there are in America right now and the amount of pressure that is on them to look good and have the “perfect” body type.

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