Representation Of Body Image In Social Media

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Body representation is subject to all sorts of aberrations from past experiences, postures of our parents, inner environments like our emotions and moods, and often more. However, the mental picture we paint of ourselves greatly influences our behavior. Occupation with and distortions of body image are distributed among American females and males. The mental picture we paint of ourselves is usually what leads to eating disorders or anxiety and even depression. What is body image, the literal translation of body image is, “the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body”. Body image is the psychological state you make about yourself but it may or may not hold any relative to how others really believe you. Body image is how we view ourselves and social media has played a very big role in this. In today’s time, we rely so heavily on social media, we use it for personal and sometimes work-related. Platforms like Instagram have greatly influenced how we view each other. And with social media, it has allowed people to “harass” on another. This leads to mental disorders like depression and anxiety, which may also lead to eating disorders.

One common misconception about body image is that women are the only ones who suffer from this but that is simply not true as men also struggle with this. However, men usually are not as sensitive.

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The prompt troubled life of boys Stephen Hall talks about a boy named Alexander who was “overweight” and embarrassed about it. He said that his own parents would make comments about his weight and felt he needed to change. Alexander talks about how females go through the anorexic and try to be as thin as possible is the same with guys as they try and buff up. (Paragraph 4, Page 8)

Social media definitely plays a big role. Models, weightlifters, and health enthusiasts all post to social media and influence people one way or another and because of this it gets people thinking,” am I happy with my body”? There was a recent survey conveyed that interviewed around 227 female college students. In the survey it was determined that the female students compare their bodies to celebrities and their peers however they do this in a negative way.

Social media is not the only motivating factor for dissatisfaction with one’s body. Magazines and television are also a problem. Another study was conducted by a counselor at Milwaukee School of Engineering and they concluded that many male students were struggling with their own bodies. When reading fitness magazines they become very unhappy with there own bodies. One reason men struggle with satisfaction with their own bodies is that they are afraid of not impressing a woman. There have been other surveys done to see if women really do care about these things as much as men think. The answer was no.

The G.I Joes’ action figures have started to put an unrealistic image in young boys’ bodies on how they should look. Hall again talks about this and how companies have made very exaggerated versions of action figures. They began with gathering three versions of G.I Joe and other various action figures. Then they took measurements and put them to scale on a 5’10 man. The measurements they got were a 30-inch waist, a 57-inch chest, and 27-inch biceps. The pope comments saying,” If he was your height, he would have 32-inch biceps.” which is greater than any world-record-holding or breaking bodybuilder. (Paragraph 1&2, Page 6).

Works Cited

  1. Hall, Stephen S. “The Bully in the Mirror.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Aug. 1999,
  2. “Home.” ….Effects on Physical and Mental Health,
  3. “The Complicated Truth about Social Media and Body Image – BBC Future.” BBC News, BBC,


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