During quarantine we have been left with our thoughts and our phones.
This has had an effect on my own body image and relationship with food, and this is true for many people I know as well.
Chloe Ting workouts, TikTok’s whipped coffee, and Netflix binges are just some of the trends we have tried in the last few months. These different habits, all of which are strongly encouraged by social media, have affected our bodies in different ways, not all of which are negative.
Mrs. Allison Wellford Parker (‘83) is the Upper School guidance counselor who often assists students troubled with their own body image.“The pressure to present ‘perfect lives’ on Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok is real. Teenagers will often have a hard time distinguishing between the real and the "make-believe" created with photo editing and staging events” she said.
While this unrealistic beauty standard is an unspoken ideal, it affects women and the way they see themselves daily. This also affects our views of people with body types different from those encouraged by social media.
Perhaps when scrolling through your phone you noticed that many companies are exclusive to some body types, promoting unhealthy diets and body shaming those who do not fit the mold of their ideal customer. The company Brandy Melville is infamous for “one size fits all” clothing that only fits “small” or “x-small” customers. Macy’s shames food freedom with portion-control plates. Forever 21 puts diet bars in packages for people who order plus-size clothing, and Revolve creates clothing displaying extremely triggering and fatphobic writing.
This is even harder to ignore while we’ve been stuck in our own homes spending even more time on social media.
While negative body image influencers can create toxic habits in their viewers, there has been an influx of influencers who have advocated for body positivity on social media.
Seeing these problems within both social media and the fashion industry has encouraged many people to spread a more positive attitude about body image. Victoria Garrick, Sam Paige, Nikki Garza, Brittani Lancaster and so many more influencers have post videos and posts promoting love and appreciation for each body’s shape and size.
McKinley Gilmore (12), an active Tik-Toker with a large following, said, “Tik Tok has honestly helped me … I see real people doing real things in their real lives … not everyone is autotuned or facetuned.”
Ms. Jessica Seebeck, the St. Mary’s mind and body wellness teacher, said,“I think social media absolutely has some great role models for body acceptance and body positivity, but so often our feed still gets flooded with mixed messages.”
For & By Students
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