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Opinion

Why Body Positivity Is Negatively Impacting Everyone

Social media is never as it seems.

CREDIT: Diego Sabogal/flickr Jasmina Flo/flickr

In this new era of self-made influencers, we’re all more susceptible to the effects of social media, especially when they’re hidden behind a seemingly innocent trend.

There’s plenty of aspects of social media that make it an incredibly toxic environment and with most users nowadays being impressionable teenagers, it can be very dangerous to their mental health. That’s not to discard its beneficial uses though. There’s plenty of good things about modern technology, it’s just a shame that the bad ones mostly outweigh them.

Body image has been a constant issue for young people, particularly when they’re exposed to both praise and scrutiny for looking a certain way online. But then a new wave of body-positive influencers came along and appeared to have made a huge improvement on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

Unfortunately, we’re more susceptible to the negativity online when it’s disguised as positive trends by famous faces we’ve grown to trust. There’s no denying that social media has proven to be a hub for feeding insecurities, and when mixed with the sensitive issue of body image, it can be a deadly mix.

Even celebrities have spoken out about their dislike of social media and its ability to aid anonymous attacks on others. Jonah Hill expressed his stance on people commenting on his body after his weight loss became front-page news. He received so many hateful and unnecessary comments about his body that it prompted him to publicly ask his followers to stop the gossip.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CU-_o2gv_WY/?utm_source=ig_embed

Increased awareness about body image helps start a wider conversation about insecurities as a whole, but with more people talking, there’s more hate being propelled from behind a screen. And it’s starting to pit groups against each other, even though they ultimately want the same thing. 

Users on TikTok found themselves engaging in a debate surrounding fat shaming and skinny shaming, but rather than accepting the fact that both acts are incredibly harmful, they began arguing which was worse. Many said that they are completely different, but in reality, they are both the same. Whilst the victims of each attack may differ, they are each shamed for how they look. And that is never acceptable. 

This has prompted a divide between people who truly want to endorse body positivity and those who want to endure the hate. So who can we really trust to help the cause on social media? Well, there are very few people who don’t use their platform for ad deals or to promote their own brand, but there are a handful of individuals that seem to be unproblematic.

Youtube and TikTok sensation Glitterandlazers has documented her experience with body image and has proven that looking good is all about feeling good too. She’s admitted that when she was at her heaviest weight, the way that people treated her was completely different to what she experiences today, despite still falling under the plus-size umbrella. She also hasn’t sold her soul to companies wanting to cash in on her weight loss, and instead, she’s stayed true to herself and her followers.

TikTok user xobrooklynne has also received a lot of praise for speaking up about the differences between what is edited and what is real on the app. She uploaded a video showing the difference between what had been photoshopped and what was truly her. The 17 year old has received thousands of hate comments across her videos but she has remained a positive influence on the young children using social media. She has never hidden her imperfections and has always been proud of her body type. This is the sort of social media star we need!

@xobrooklynne

Please let this serve as a reminder of how fake any photo/video can be & to not compare yourself to anything! You look amazing 🙂

♬ Bananza (Belly Dancer) – stella💜

Body positivity isn’t just for plus-size people, a common misconception that can actually do more harm than good. As described by Wikipedia:

Body positivity is a social movement focused on the acceptance of all bodies, regardless of size, shape, skin tone, gender, and physical abilities, while challenging present-day beauty standards as an undesirable social construct.

So we should all be aiming to support everyone in feeling more confident about their body type, regardless of what size or shape they are. Everyone deserves to be happy and free from abuse, especially when hate is purely directed at them because of their appearance.

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