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Body positivity

    Social media has become an integral part of our lives, shaping the way we communicate, share information, and how we see ourselves and others. One prominent area where social media has a significant influence is body image.

    Let’s take a look at the impact of social media on body image, both the positive and negative aspects, and the potential consequences of these.

    The Influence of Social Media

    Social media platforms provide us with a constant stream of images and content that can shape our perception of beauty and body ideals. From perfectly edited photos to filtered images and carefully crafted narratives, social media often presents an unrealistic and idealised version of beauty. This perpetuates narrow standards and creates a distorted perception of what is considered attractive, leading to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

    How Does Social Media Affect Body Image

    Comparisons and Idealised Standards

    One of the primary ways social media affects body image is through the endless comparisons that users make. Constant exposure to carefully curated images and the pressure to conform to societal beauty standards can lead people to compare their appearance with others. This comparison culture can fuel negative self-perception, low self-esteem, and even body dissatisfaction.

    What’s more, social media promotes the idealisation of specific body types, which may not be representative of the diverse range of human bodies. People are bombarded with images of flawless skin, toned bodies, and perfectly proportioned features, which can create unattainable goals and unrealistic beauty standards.

    Emphasis on External Validation

    Social media platforms often prioritise external validation through likes, comments, and follower counts. This emphasis on approval and validation based on physical appearance can hugely impact body image. People may feel the need to seek validation from others, leading to a constant cycle of seeking external affirmation and measuring self-worth based on the number of likes or comments received.

    Negative Effects on Mental Health

    The negative impact of social media on body image is closely linked to mental health issues. Studies have shown a strong correlation between excessive social media use and higher levels of anxiety, depression, and body dissatisfaction. The constant exposure to images that promote an unattainable ideal can contribute to feelings of self-consciousness, inadequacy, and even contribute to the development of eating disorders.

    However, it’s important to note that not everyone is equally affected by social media. Certain factors, such as individual vulnerabilities, pre-existing body image concerns, and social support systems, can influence how individuals respond to these pressures.

    Negative Effects on Mental Health

    Positive Aspects and Counteracting Strategies

    While the negative impact of social media on body image is significant, there are positive aspects as well. Social media platforms can provide spaces for body positivity movements, promoting self-acceptance and inclusivity. Many people use these platforms to challenge societal beauty standards, encourage body diversity, and foster a sense of community and support.

    Moreover, social media allows for open conversations about body image issues and raising awareness. Through the sharing of personal stories and experiences, individuals can find support, gain perspective, and develop strategies to combat negative body image perceptions.

    In order to avoid the adverse effects of social media on body image, it’s important to educate and remind individuals about the manipulated nature of images and the curated nature of social media content, so people can develop a more discerning eye and a healthier relationship with the digital realm.


    Social media has become a powerful force that significantly impacts body positivity. The constant exposure to idealised images and the pressure to conform to societal beauty standards can have detrimental effects on individuals’ mental health and self-esteem.

    If you are struggling with low self-esteem, body positivity issues or self-acceptance, it may help to speak with a mental health professional. If you would like to learn more or are ready to speak with a psychologist, we are here to help. To book, click here or call our friendly reception team on 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ).