Social Media takes a toll on self-esteem

February 13, 2015

An illustration of all the insecurities a young woman may have.

photo via under the Creative Commons license

An illustration of all the insecurities a young woman may have.

“She is so pretty, I want to be like her” —  a phrase heard among many girls while they show a picture of a “Tumblr” girl to their friend. Tumblr is a blogging platform which has a variety of photos, text and audio posts, and videos.

The photos range from nature to cats to beautiful models. The last category is what seems to create the problem.

“Seeing gorgeous size 2 girls and their rich lifestyles always makes me feel like they I’m not good enough for society,” said junior Elen Hakoupiani.

Tumblr creates trends and creates beauty standards. Although many people promoting body positivity and the idea of everyone being beautiful, the endless pictures of “effortless beauties” may fill some girls up with sadness.

“Websites like Tumblr do affect my self-esteem. They set certain standards that are hard for teenage girls like me to reach,” said junior Nanar Asdourian.

Ani Davtyan, a junior, said, “Social media can sometimes affect my self-esteem because I end up comparing myself to whatever I see online. Even when I post a picture and don’t get enough likes, I have the tendency to delete that picture because my confidence drops and I think that maybe I’m not pretty enough.”

Self-esteem among women is a growing problem in the U.S. and other countries. 98 percent of women do not look like models. The average American woman is 5’4” and weighs 140 pounds. The other 2 percent’s average height is  5’11 and weight is 117 pounds, according to the Find Your Beauty website. Women who are models or who look like they could be models are a small part of the society, but they are considered the standard and the goal for many young women.

photo via under the Creative Commons license

A lack of self-esteem creates many problems such as anorexia, bulimia, depression and sometimes can even result in suicide, according to the article What Is The Relationship Between Low Self-Esteem and Eating Disorders?, published by Vanderbilt University. Girls feel worthless and ugly seeing the “perfect girls,” and they feel the need to change themselves to fit the standards.

In her article called Tumblr, Instagram Should Come With a Warning: Bad for Self Esteem,  Avril Star, says that she has somehow handed her self-esteem over to Tumblr, Instagram and the Internet  to keep and regulate. “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t affected by the online world and the media,” she said.

Instagram is also a website that creates standards. In the “Explore” page, users find beautiful skinny women posing for the camera or just posting photos of their protein shakes and waist-trainers. The latter is a corset that girls use to make their waists thinner. Doctors have warned of the dangers of these artificial trainers. “How can this possibly be healthy?!” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork said on The Dangers of Waist Training website. He added that by constricting the midsection of the body, you could potentially harm the major internal organs that reside in that region.

“It’s really hard nowadays to be confident in your own skin while seeing all the gorgeous girls that are #goals for everyone,” said junior Aleen Aliksan. “Most of the time they are Photoshopped, but they still affect the self-esteem.”

Aside from the online world, numerous magazines feature the “perfect” look of celebrities and all the ways to look like them. There are all the ”before and after” pictures that imply how hideous the “before” is and how you should do everything not to look like like that.

“Websites like Tumblr do affect my self-esteem. They set certain standards that are hard for teenage girls like me to reach.”

— Nanar Asdourian

Movies and TV shows also seem to feature actors who are “appealing to the eye.” Overweight and “unattractive” people are often cast to poke fun of just for entertainment.

“I’ve seen more bad happen due to social media than good unfortunately,” said Georgia Katelanis, Clark Magnet High School’s psychologist. “I mainly deal with elementary school students and they obviously don’t have problems regarding social media. The problem is mostly popular in high schools.”

The University of Salford in the UK did a study last year on social media’s effects on self-esteem and anxiety, and reported that 50 percent of their 298 participants said that their “use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter makes their lives worse,” according to the The Social U 101 Website in its “The Relationship Between Social Media and Self-Worth” article.

Of course Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook aren’t the only websites that can bring girls’ self-esteem down. Many other websites have ads promoting dietary supplements and ads from plastic surgeons that can also cause confidence levels to go down.

“It’s sad that in this society women feel the need to change the way they look using dangerous ways,” said junior Elen Hakoupiani. “Plastic surgeries, endless dietary medication, starving themselves and so on.”


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