The answer is yes, but only if you let it. Social media as well as other media platforms like magazines, adverts etc are damaging our self-esteem and it’s sad to think that many years ago we didn’t have to worry about what we post, but now we have to spend hours editing and hours getting the right look or the right angle to even post it.

Growing up we never had this issue, of worrying if we’re good enough for social media platforms. We didn’t have the issue of scrolling through and seeing the idea of a ‘perfect’ body and thinking you had to look like that. It’s sad how much times have changed and how now we can’t just post whatever because we don’t know what people will say. Social media is killing our confidence, it’s making us dislike ourselves even though there is nothing wrong.

The times when we could post a picture on the beach in shorts and a t-shirt, eating an ice-cream and feeling good, when we could love our bodies and not feel like forced to be someone we’re not. But the thing is, most of the time we just post the top shelf moments, we all do it. It’s a breeding ground for making people feel inadequate.


The Blade

Confidence is something that is a key part of loving yourself and being happy in your own skin, if you feel like you don’t own it, than you won’t feel good and you’ll start picking out the worst in yourself. It’s such a horrible feeling, when you can’t feel confident. Body image itself is not a problem. Everyone has a certain look, we’re all different. The problem is when it comes to having a distorted body image, meaning we see imperfections and problems that are not actually there. For example, many people that suffer from eating disorders/anaemia believe that they are considered ‘fat’ even though they may be underweight in reality.

Most of the attention is focused on the connection between body image and the media for women, but it’s the same for men too. Women always look polished to perfection, the best hair, amazing makeup and stunning features, a thin waistline, curves in the right places and long legs, they always use the same kind of people. Men, on the other hand are shown as tall, muscular, and attractive, with toned physiques.

This isn’t what everyone is, this is just a way the social media shows these images that we can’t simply live up too. Models, actors and singers; celebrities in general, not only have access to professional makeup artists, hair stylists, fashion designers, and personal trainers, but they are also touched up. Before their images are posted on Instagram or published in magazines, their faces are completely airbrushed to remove any blemishes, flaws or imperfections. They are photo shopped to look thinner, have a smaller waist and a larger chest.

As a society, we place far to much emphasis on our appearance. We want to be this gorgeous girl or this handsome guy in the room, we want to stand out from the crowd. When we focus on this and compare ourselves to these unrealistic images, we often feel bad for ourselves, and our sense of self-worth drops.

There was once that time when the saying was ”just be yourself” but the truth is we can’t anymore. We have depressed souls, jealousy and unhealthy competition with standards that are not as high as we make them seem. Social media has caused us to live in a dangerous cycle of needing more and wanting to look different. We see others happiness, and we feel we need to catch up.

Instagram is one of the biggest culprits for damaging people’s self-esteem. It is creating a generation of people uploading photos to receive the most likes. It’s not fair to think that we need this idea of a ‘perfect’ body. Society tells us what kind of body image we should strive for. We see images of perfect bodies all around us, on television, in movies, in newspaper and magazine ads and online. We all come in different shapes and sizes, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

We should be able to feel amazing without makeup, our bed hair and in our comfies, rather than feeling like we have to doll ourselves up just to take a picture to post on social media. The amount of time we spend on social media can easily make us slip into a vicious cycle of not loving ourselves. It is not a common misconception that social media damages are self-esteem, because it really does, but that’s if we let it.

It’s always this idea of having this ‘perfect’ body, getting that constantly stuck in our heads can turn to being unmotivated and feelings of despair. In turn, we then begin to hate ourselves and our bodies or feeling like we have way more imperfections. Seeing these people advertising all these ‘diet teas’ and things like that, celebrities that people look up too and then loosing weight in the shortest amount of time, to becoming this representation of a perfect body, but this isn’t real.

The only way you can loose weight and it be healthy is if you take your time and do it your way, just because someone on Instagram has protein shakes everyday and eats healthy every single day and does exercises seven times a week, doesn’t mean you have too. Because most of the time they just show this for social media.

But the thing is, if we truly don’t like something about ourselves than all we can do is change it, not change it because someone says so or change it because someone looks different on social media because they’re more toned or have better curves. That isn’t the point, changing yourself should be because you want too and shouldn’t be influenced by a platform or a person, we all have our imperfections, but in order for you to feel better, than make that change.

If you want to get healthier, eat healthier, exercise more but don’t feel like you have to go overboard and hope you look a certain way in a few weeks because someone else does. You do you and this can’t be stressed enough! Work at your own pace, loose weight at your own pace, eat what you want and what works for you, incorporate the exercises you enjoy. Get rid of all the pictures and accounts that make you doubt yourself, have pictures like quotes and motivation coming up to keep you going.

Just remember that you do not have to be a fitness model or follow a fitness model to be healthy or inspired. Follow people who are more like you, those you can relate to. Focus on your story, make your social media what you want to see, how you live your life and make it positive, don’t be afraid that it isn’t ‘Instagram approved’ because it hasn’t, be the best version of yourself you can be, don’t ever let social media platforms bring you down and make you feel like you’re not worthy.

          Journalism student