March 3, 2020
Jiggly arms have been the bane of existence for a lot of women. As you try on a sleeveless dress or top, you question your breakfast, lunch and dinner choices. It’s the perfect “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” instance but for the arms. To all those girls, we say listen to Jameela Jamil:
“Love thine arms. I bloody love mine.”
It is not just arms. Women (and men) have at least one body part they feel pretty shitty about. The part that makes them less confident. The part that makes them self-conscious. The part that makes them question why haven’t they exercised in the past week, month or year. To these people, we say listen some more to Jameela Jamil:
“Nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to any part of your body jiggling. We are people, not statues.”
Why are we talking about jiggly things? Because as beneficial social media has been at being the loudspeaker for tiny voices, it has been as detrimental to body image.
We’re not blaming networking sites per se; we’re saying it is high time to change the way socials are used.
Body Image And Social Media: The Negative Impact
A basic search on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect shows that there are pages upon pages of research on social media and its impact on body image. One study says that Facebook and Instagram are specifically to blame for poorer body image. Another research says that women under 25-years of age experience higher:
- Drive for thinness
- Body surveillance
- Body dissatisfaction
- Internalization of the thin-ideal
- Self-objectification (the extent to which you focus on your appearance)
And it’s all because of social networking sites.
Social Media’s Effect On Well Being:
We don’t need research to prove this to be true. Anyone who uses a social app regularly has experienced those moments when their body didn’t fit into the “ideal figure” bracket.
We’ve all been inclined towards exercising some more or not eating to shed those extra pounds. We’ve all felt our self-esteem take a plunge as we scroll past another flawless skin post.
So, the question is not if looking at attractive images posted by users, leaves people with a more damaged and negative body image. It is if spreading awareness on body positivity can reduce this adverse effect.
The answer is an unequivocal yes.
Body Positivity And Social Media: The Good Impact
York University experimented on two sets of young adult women. One group “actively engaged with the image-based social media of attractive peers.” The other groups “engaged with the image-based social media of family.”
Guess what the result was?
The first group had a worsened body image, but not the second one! In other words, the type of content you consume on Facebook or Instagram can define how you see and feel about your body!
We take this a step forward.
What happens when women view content that celebrates bodies of all sizes and shapes?
A study on 195 women, all between the ages of 18 and 30, showed that when they saw body-positive Instagram posts, they experienced:
- Happier moods
- Improved body image
- And less focus on self-objectification.
In simplest terms, it all depends upon how you use social media. If you stick to posts that show flawless bods with nary a mark, then that is all you will crave for to your detriment. So, broaden your horizons to include all sorts of colour, figure, and weights and you’ll be more comfortable in your skin.
What Can You Do To Raise Awareness On Body Positivity?
When you raise awareness of body positivity (BoPo) on social media, you reduce the negative effect so-called perfect posts have on people. The first step to it is to change your inner narrative.
No, you don’t have a fat ass. It’s just too wide for them narrow minds.
The second step is to change the standard of beauty from ‘thin, toned & happy’ to ‘jiggle, stretch-marked and joyous!’ Take a cue from Dove’s #ShowUs project – the world’s largest photo library shattering beauty stereotypes left, right and center.
The third step is to curate your social media environment. Unfollow and block accounts that stick to the limited definition of body. Follow creators like Celeste Barbour, Ashley Graham and Winnie Harlow who promote a positive body image and #BeautyBeyondSize.
Lastly, if you have followers who comment insensitively, gently correct their behaviour. If you’ve got trolls eating your head on thunder thighs, here’s how you react. If you want to be part of #BoPo, here’s how you use social media for good.
Talking Body Positivity: The First Step
Sharing images, videos, Stories, status, tweets, etc. inclusive of all bodies may not solve the stigma around body image, but it is the first step. By talking and promoting body positivity, we may end up creating a new normal for the coming generation.
Think of it this way: every content you publish celebrating and appreciating all bodies, breaks one more preconception for us and reimagines it for the next.