Social Media Has a Negative Effect on Body Image and Self Esteem


Is social media harming people’s views of themselves? Social media harms people’s body perception, self-confidence, and mental health. The articles, “Girls Are Taking Drastic Measures to Achieve the Perfect Instagram Snap,” by Kayleen Schaefer and “How Social Media Is a Toxic Mirror,” by Rachel Simmons both discuss and explain these themes. Kayleen Schaefer and Rachel Simmons display to their audience that social media is a harmful place for its audience because it damages body perception, self-confidence, and causes disordered eating.  

Most teenagers could agree that social media has damaged the perception of their bodies. Schaefer and Simmons both discuss this in their articles many times. Schaefer’s entire article continuously talks about young women editing their appearances and posting the photograph on social media. In Schaefer’s article, it states, “But looking one way online and another in the mirror may be making many young women despair about the disconnect” (1). This shows that photograph editing that happens all over social media is making young women feel worse about their bodies. Teenagers use social media to compare themselves to others and damage their body perceptions. “Visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat deliver the tools that allow teens to earn approval for their appearance and compare themselves to others” (Simmons 1). This quote shows how seeing how greatly other people look on social media can highly damage teenagers' body perceptions they compare themselves and need approval from others. The biggest reason that these women’s body perception has been damaged is because of FaceTune. In Schaefer’s article Dana Suchow spoke up about how she edited her photographs in the past and posted them on social media because she was self-conscious about her own body, but editing her photographs made her feel worse about her body (3). Editing photographs on social media causes huge harm to people’s body perception it can cause a person to not even know what their body looks like. Social media also highly harms people’s self-confidence. 

When people go on social media, they see people on the platform who they believe look better than them. Believing these people are better than them is destroying their self-confidence. Schaefer displays in her article that social media does a lot of harm to a teenager's self-confidence. The impact of social media on teenagers is that they need to look perfect all the time and they should never look bad. Teenagers see people online look perfect and they feel pressured to enhance their appearance and have the illusion of looking perfect. In Schaefer’s article, there is a mention of Gloria Cavallaro who would change her lip shape with makeup to make them symmetrical and bigger (1). This shows how social media damaged Cavallaro's self-confidence to a point where she was changing her appearance with makeup. One of the biggest impacts on self-confidence on social media is celebrities and their unrealistic faces. These unrealistic faces can cause people to even physically harm themselves to look just like the celebrities they see. “Before she publicly admitted to using injectables, her noticeably enhanced lips sparked a social media phenomenon known as #KylieJennerChallenge in which people went to dangerous measures to temporarily inflate their own lips using a shot glass as a suctioning device” (Schaefer 2). This quote is referring to Kylie Jenner and her big lips she got from lip filler and she had said was natural. Celebrities like Jenner saying their enhancements are all-natural is what is causing teenagers to have such awful self-confidence. Social media can even cause some women enough damage that they are tempted to get plastic surgery. “This obsessiveness with appearance can lead to a desire to actually change their appearance in real life through plastic surgery” (Schaefer 1). This quote shows how young women who are obsessed with editing their photographs online could further develop them to get plastic surgery because of how damaged their self-confidence has become. Social media has also become one of the causes of disordered eating. 

Eating disorders have become a very big deal recently because social media is causing teenagers all over the world to develop them. In her, article Simmons discusses how social media has been harming teenagers all over the world’s mental health and given them eating disorders. In Simmons article, it says, “Psychologists found robust cross-cultural evidence linking social media use to body image concerns, dieting, body surveillance, a drive for thinness and self-objectification in adolescents” (1). Simmons is using ethos to inform the reader of how damaging social media is to teenager’s mental health because they strive to be thin and perfect when they should not. There are tons of pages on social media that are about wellness. Simmons discusses how these pages about wellness inspire teenagers to have more disordered eating and harmed mental health from websites being pro-anorexia (2). Anorexia is a very dangerous eating disorder where teenagers starve themselves so that their bodies are perfect and people promoting it on social media are causing teenagers to develop it. Social media is harming teenagers and even adults every day. 

Kayleen Schaefer and Rachel Simmons have both informed their audiences about the dangers of social media in their articles. Schaefer discusses the important themes of how social media damages teenager’s body perception and self-confidence. Simmons displays the themes of how social media damages body perception and causes eating disorders in teenagers. They are both informing their readers of the dangers of social media. Could social media be damaging and changing the world around us?

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