Social Media and Self-image

Social media shapes the idea of perfection for all people.


Social media affects self-image by creating suicidal thoughts. It offers many of the same type of woman or man that is usually defined as “perfect” or “flawless”. Although sometimes these people are photoshopped in pictures, the person looking at the picture does not think about that. Instead, he/she thinks about how he/she is not as “good-looking” as the model in the picture. In most cases, these thoughts are repeated in their mind and all they think about is their self-image. Social media has brainwashed consumers to believe its definition of “perfection”, and they are led to believe that there is only one type of perfection. Looking at these images of “perfect” people every day through social media channels, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, can bring a person to negative thoughts about himself/herself. Photoshop also offers negative thoughts to not only the consumer, but also the model being used in the ad; if a picture of a woman who has blemishes is photoshopped, then the model will feel as if she isn’t good enough to be present in the ad naturally. The effects of these repeated negative thoughts would be suicidal thoughts. More than it should happen, these suicidal thoughts are put to action and can cause a person to go to the extreme.

There aren’t many solutions when it comes to what people feel inside because the only person who can change the way that he/she thinks is that person. Although, if different social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, start using people with real imperfections that the consumers can relate to, then it would help them with changing back to the right and positive mindset. Using people who have acne or cellulite in ads will help the consumer feel like he/she is not alone in having the same imperfections. The negative thoughts that used to fill one person’s head would be replaced with mostly positive thoughts about himself/herself. Instead of giving consumers a reason to doubt themselves by using stick-thin models with “perfect” faces, we should come together and build an organization solely purposed to help others accept themselves for who they are. If we do this, then that will reduce the number of suicides. For example, Tess Holliday has already made a social media campaign that helps women to start to think in a positive way about themselves called “#effyourbeautystandards”. Holliday reflects, "The whole reason I do this is to show women that you can be beautiful regardless of your size, you are allowed to dress how you want without feeling ashamed of your body” (Gabrielle & Tauber, 1).


Social media affects self-image by giving bullies a doorway to tease and put down others. Rowe reflects, “ While there are undoubtedly many positives arising out of the use of social media, irresponsible or inappropriate use can have significant negative consequences” (Rowe 1). For example, if a 14 year old girl posts a picture of herself on Instagram, somebody might think negatively about her and post multiple comments that should not be posted. The 14 year old girl can no longer look at herself the way that she used to because of that comment and continue to feel that she is not as pretty as she used to be. Now, girls can’t even post a picture of themselves without putting on makeup before hand or using filters and editing apps because they fear that they are not pretty enough to show themselves to the world naturally. Many social media channels, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, give bullies an easy way to tease and mock others without even having to face him/her in person. Thanks to newer, advanced media channels that can be easily accessed, anybody can sit behind a screen and type a mean comment to somebody he/she does not like. These mean comments affect the person on the other end; it can bring down his/her day with just a click of a button. Teenage girls tend to worry about how much likes they have on a picture compared to the girl next to her. If she gets less likes than the girl next to her, then she will feel like she is not pretty anymore and her self-confidence will go down; if she gets more likes than the girl next to her, though, then her ego will rise and she will start to boast to the girl next to her and make her feel bad. Boasting through social media is another form of bullying, but it is used indirectly to anybody who sees or hears it. Even the littlest bit of hatred can make somebody’s smile turn into a frown.

Like suicide, bullying is hard to conquer because it is what a person is feeling inside. Anybody who experienced bullying secondhand try to focus their help and sympathy to a girl/boy who is getting bullied, but it could be possible that we are starting at the wrong end. One reason people bully or put others down is because they might have been through the tough journey earlier in their lifetime themselves. Though the world cannot actually be “bully-free”, counseling and therapy sessions can be a start to reducing the numbers of bullies in the world. Sending people who have admitted that they have bullied someone before to counselors and therapists would be helpful to everyone. Another way to reduce bullying is starting organizations that help discourage it. This idea would help the present generations and the future generations because if people around the world start creating things that reduce bullying now, then as they grow older, they would not have to worry so much about bullying as they did when they were younger. The steps that people take now can have a great effect in the future. Even the littlest shred of help can bring a person to a smile.


Daley, Dennis C. "The Double Demons of Depression and Addiction | Dual Diagnosis." Dual Diagnosis., 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

Olya, Gabrielle, and Michelle Tauber. "PLUS-SIZE AND PROUD! (Cover Story)." People 83.22 (2015): 70. Middle Search Plus. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

"Report Cyberbullying." KHSD Parents Portal. KHSD Parents Portal, 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

Rowe, John. "Student Use of Social Media: When Should the University Intervene?

EBSCOhost. EBSCO Industries, Inc., 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.

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