By Mairin Hoffman ’25
Have you ever scrolled through social media and saw a flawless, gorgeous person on your feed and instantly felt bad about yourself? As my peers and I experience this every day, you aren’t alone in this. Social media is supposed to bring us together, but instead, it leaves us feeling worthless. It is common knowledge that everything we see on social media isn’t real, but still, it’s hard for us to swallow that pill because we instantly start thinking poorly of ourselves when we see someone looking flawless.
Ever since I was younger, I would see people on social media and expected myself to look like them. When I was in my teenage years, I did not look like these people, and I thought something was wrong with me and that I was worthless. The negative part of growing up with social media; this unreachable beauty standard has higher expectations for women (and men). According to insider.com, The National Library of Medicine did a small study and found a correlation between time spent on social media, negative body image, and disordered eating. There are 3.6 Billion people on social media constantly scrolling, so it is no surprise outcomes like this happen. This behavior should not be normalized, though, as most of the pictures we see on the internet are edited to look better. Some people fall for this trick, think people are supposed to look like that, and shame people who do not look like the models they see. This is unacceptable, and I see this in everyday life in school and even in magazines at the store. These magazines (for example, People magazine) constantly call women fat, ugly, or say they had a ‘glow down’ and show paparazzi pictures when they aren’t posing or in layers of makeup. They just look like normal human beings.
Billie Eilish, a famous singer and Grammy winner, has talked about body image. On social media, she has been ridiculed for wearing baggy clothes. She hid her body because she didn’t want anyone to comment on it. When she wasn’t wearing baggy clothes and was walking in a grocery store, paparazzi snapped a photo of her, and the photo was posted. Thousands of people called Eilish obese, fat, and ugly, which is sad because she looked like an ordinary person walking. When talking about this situation, Eilish said this; “I see people online, looking like I’ve never looked,” Eilish told the publication. “And immediately I am like, oh my God, how do they look like that? I know the ins and outs, what people use in photos, and what looks real can be fake. Yet I still see it and go, oh God, that makes me feel bad. And I mean, I’m very confident in who I am, and I’m very happy with my life… I’m not happy with my body.”. Billie then finally says she thinks it’s “ridiculous that anybody cares about bodies at all.” After all, she said, “we only need bodies to eat and walk around and poop. We only need them to survive. Like, why? Why do we care?”.
Overall, I hope this article makes you realize that you aren’t alone in feeling bad about yourself. Especially in our teenage years, we need to be told that these posts are not absolute and we aren’t supposed to look like the 25-year-old models we see on Instagram. For this to change, I believe we all need to teach ourselves and other people that the photos we see aren’t real; we can do that by posting unedited photos, showing someone’s actual skin if they have acne, or stretch marks, or birthmarks. In the end, everyone is beautiful, even if you don’t fit society’s expectations of beauty. One day, we will look back at times we hid under huge hoodies or in our rooms, afraid of judgment and regret for not living life.