Is Instagram Killing our Self Esteem?

August 24, 2017

Former editor in chief of British Vogue, 59 year old Alexandra Shulman shocked Instagram recently with her bikini selfie. Showing the world an untouched version of herself, she has gained thousands of likes and positive comments on the post, ranging from what an inspiring women she is to people thanking her for keeping it real.

Coming from a background that’s notorious for its high fashion spreads and heavily curated content, Alexandra has succeeded in contributing to body positivity, an area that’s not so well developed in the fashion industry. Providing much needed honesty and transparency on a platform that is infamous for its filtered and often unrealistic images.

Instagram has become a terrible place for people to compare and contrast their lives against others. Producing all kinds of jealous emotions including FOMO, which translates to the fear of missing out on something great that’s happening and that you’re not a part of. The constant array of vacation photos, expensive designer gear and café delicacies also promotes the idea of an aspirational lifestyle rather than an inspirational life, providing people with what can often be seen as highly unattainable or false achievements that should not dictate how successful life should be.

While Instagram has banned hashtags such as #thinspo and #thinspiration, it doesn’t stop the flow of photos that pop up of retouched skinny models or fitness stars flaunting their quick tips to get a thin body in an unrealistic amount of days. Some fitness stars and models do take the more genuine approach, dishing out advice that’s beneficial. But unfortunately it comes to the point where some users find it hard to differentiate between the two, finding quick and easy diets to be the answer instead of a more long term healthier approach.

According to a study completed by the Royal Society for Public Health, around 70% of 18-24 year olds would consider having a cosmetic surgical procedure. Out of the five most prominent social media channels YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, Instagram was rated as the most negative. In regards to contributing to poor body image and anxiety, Instagram also scored the
highest.

If more influencers like Alexandra Shulman began taking raw and candid photos of themselves, then more women will feel encouraged to embrace their own unique bodies. As the saying goes, to have a bikini body all you really need is a body, regardless of how you think you look.

By Emily Facoory

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