Whether it’s on TV or in magazines, society creates a standard for how men and women should look in order to be attractive. With the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, which force users to constantly compare themselves to their peers and influences as they scroll, self-esteem in young people has plummeted.
The American Psychological Association conducted a study on the impacts of social media on young women and teenagers. The results revealed “…using more [Instagram] on a particular day was related to increased self-reported state self-objectification [mental preoccupation with one’s physical appearance] on that same day. Daily [Instagram] use was also related to lower daily life satisfaction and higher daily negative mood.”
An anonymous female student at Key West High School (KWHS) commented on how social media has influenced her. “I don’t have the best image of myself due to the expectations in today’s society for someone’s body.” When society praises specific body types and shapes, it adds pressure on those who don’t look a certain way. As social media pushes content showing “perfect” bodies and features toward young minds who compare themselves to these pictures and videos, their self-esteem tends to deteriorate.
However, there are ways to deal with a negative self-image. She explained, “When I don’t feel great, I repeat certain affirmations to myself and try to do something that makes me feel happy and confident.” Simply saying small phrases like “I am beautiful”, “I am kind”, “I choose what I become”, and “I am enough“ can truly make a difference in the way a person views themself. The source elaborated, “I try to maintain a positive mindset with my self-image. I have come to realize that there is no such thing as a “perfect” body. I only have one, so I have to appreciate it as much as I can, even though it can be difficult at times.”
The student advised anyone battling body image issues, “You have to be nice to yourself. Even if some days you don’t feel confident, it’s important to try to be somewhat positive.” She concluded, “You are your biggest enemy. Mistreating yourself will only make you feel worse about yourself.”
No matter what social media posts pop up on your phone’s screen, remember, who you are is enough.