The dangers of body image issues must be addressed


@angelenergyandco on Instagram

Hot button issues like body image are necessary to discuss amongst Gaels to develop an understanding of their self-worth.

Esai Hernandez, Contributing Writer

There are so many individuals who are insecure and anxious of their physical appearance. Body image issues could lead to seriously negative thoughts and actions, such as depression and suicide. A group of students are planning an event that will raise more awareness on the negative impact that social media could have towards the well-being of college students.  

This event will explore how social media could lead to body image and self-esteem issues. These students plan on using their platform to raise more awareness towards body image issues and provide audiences with advice and useful resources that could be incorporated within their lives. Even if you are not self-conscious about your appearance, you could still learn new methods that could improve your mental health and discover new habits that will allow you to appreciate yourself on a deeper level.  

Body image refers to the way an individual observes or views their body. Many people tend to have different opinions or feelings towards the appearance of their body. There are a great number of people who are unsatisfied with their body and tend to place an unhealthy amount of judgment on themselves.  

Consistent criticisms on one’s appearance could lead to depression, anxiety and a lack of confidence. Furthermore, a great number of individuals or platforms could impact the way a person perceives their body. One example would be an individual scrolling through a celebrity’s social media page and comparing their appearances with the star who has access to valuable trainers, chefs and supplements. Family members can also impact an individual’s body image by consistently shaming or judging the appearances of each other. 

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), published an article that highlighted how media consumption can influence the way Americans view their appearances. The article was titled “Media and Eating Disorders” and shared how “a content analysis of weight-loss advertising in 2001 found that more than half of all advertising for weight-loss products made use of false, unsubstantiated claims.” The media outlets that one tends to view can significantly impact their way of thinking. Many individuals are viewing and purchasing products that are being advertised to them as a tool to achieve their “dream body” and it is only “one purchase away.” Then, once they own the product and discover that it is not delivering the promises within its advertisement, these individuals will begin to feel bad about themselves. These negative feelings could massively impact an individual’s self-confidence in a negative manner. 

An individual who has issues with their body image could develop eating disorders. Eating disorders can lead to unhealthy food diets and life-threatening habits. Purging and fasting are also linked with eating disorders. According to another article published by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), “over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives.” Many teenagers and young adults are incredibly self-conscious and insecure about their physical appearance, so they are at risk of developing an eating disorder. 

In the article, “Effects of Social Media on Body Image and Eating Disorders,” Sarah Gracz, a certified eating disorder specialist, discusses the impact that social media can have towards one’s mental health and how it could be an unhealthy and toxic platform for an individual suffering from low self-esteem or body image issues. Gracz states that “many individuals are not aware of how images are filtered or edited in Photoshop, which can create an unrealistic ideal of what bodies look like.” She emphasizes how individuals should be cautious of the popular social media trends or number of followers/likes that they receive and not let it become a trigger for their eating disorder. Gracz also encourages others to have control of their social media page. An individual can obtain control by removing certain followers and blocking trends that they feel are unhealthy to their well-being. 

Many individuals have been made fun of due to their physical appearance or body shape on social media. Even celebrities, such as Tyra Banks and Demi Lovato, have been body shamed on social media. Having your body criticized by a group of social media users could be a terrible experience. Nobody deserves to be judged based on their physical appearances on social media. Cyberbullying and body image issues could be related because they both could lead to a person experiencing heavily negative thoughts or feelings about themselves.  

In short, there have been many technological advancements that have occurred throughout the years. These advancements have changed the way people communicate with one another. There are many positive aspects that come along with the rise of digital and social media. However, there are many negative aspects or actions that could occur throughout the Internet. The event that the students plan on delivering will tackle these negative aspects. 

For more information on the event, feel free to contact: [email protected]  

         [email protected] 

         [email protected] 

        [email protected] 

       [email protected]