The Truth about Perfection

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Oscar Dadfar

Jamie Ingling, Contributing Writer

Pictures of muscular men and petite women are seen every day with one simple scroll of a finger.  Social media applications such as Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr, expose young adolescents to what some believe is “the perfect body.” Fads such as thigh gaps, curves, bulking muscles, and sharp jaw lines do not seem to be going away as more and more posts are put online. Man-Candy Mondays and Women-Crush Wednesdays may seem harmless, but the lasting effect it has on teens’ confidence and self-esteem cannot be ignored.

As the years go by, it seems as though girls are expected to be skinnier than ever before. Girls cannot escape the overwhelming expectations of having an hourglass figure. According to childrencomefirst.com, 80% of women are dissatisfied with their body appearance. In social media, women who have achieved these unreasonable standards are seen by teenage girls. Morris Hills student Megan Gaeb stated, “It’s seeing other girls in pictures [in social media] that increases the insecurity I have for my body.” Emily Frye also added, “All the models in social media are super skinny, but that’s not actually what normal people look like. Even though it doesn’t affect my mindset of my body I’m 100% sure it affects others.”

On the flipside, boys are expected to be strongly built with muscle. However, boys appear to be less fazed by male expectations in social media. When asked about his confidence in his body, student JP Alvarez replied, “I am very comfortable with my current body.” Kevin Peer said, “I’m okay with my body.” From both of these statements it can be made evident that social media has a larger impact on girls than it does on boys. In fact, research done by colleges such as Columbia University and Cornell shows that girls have a lower level of confidence than boys, otherwise known as “the confidence gap.”

Sources like Forbes, CNN, BBC News, Huffington Post, and Child Mind have all discussed the topic of social media’s effect on teens. With titles such as “Is Social Media Destroying Your Self-Esteem?” and “Does Social Media Impact on Body Image?” clearly it is a serious topic in the real world.  According to dailytech.com, 81% of teens use social networking sites. Body fads will come and go, but the diminishing teen confidence is a fad that will last forever with the help of social media. As stated Megan Gaeb stated, “Social media has always made me look at other girls and realize everything that’s ‘wrong’ with my body. When in reality, there is no ‘right’ body.” There is no “right” body… So why is social media trying to convince teens there is?