Social Media and Self Esteem

File this one under: blaring bummers. recently shared statistical evidence from both the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Florida University that alluded to a weird new reality about the perpetually tumultuous relationship between self-esteem and teenage girls as being informed by social media. According to the AAFPRS, 2013 saw an increase in plastic surgery inquiries among younger people, 13% of whom cited their appearance on social media platforms as reasons for the desired change.

Florida University identified a link between Facebook and eating disorders that I am still slightly confused about (article here for your own reading pleasure or discomfort) but frankly, my question is less about the actual information and much more about what we’re supposed to do.

The article ends with a slightly passive, can’t-live-with-it-can’t-live-without-it nod to young women’s relationship with beauty and body image as one always at risk; the platforms simply shift. While social is the most recent media to threaten said relationship, there’s obviously a much larger issue at play here. So, how do we instill a more positive sense of self in EACH OTHER so that we can pass down our super sweet tips and tricks of the trade to the generation below us?

What’s it going to take for us to actually, finally, definitively learn that beauty is not uniform — it comes in infinite shapes and forms and dialects and so forth. Are we putting a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches?

[Social Media and Self-Esteem via Slate]

  • Jacqueline Ho

    @manrepeller and @leandramedine always speak the #TRUTH but this is the best of them all 🙂

  • lavieenliz

    facebook has been known to lead to depression. this post is so 100%

    • Aubrey Green

      I haven’t had facebook for about 5 years and I have to say I don’t miss it and I’m much happier not having it. I have a friend who literally is consumed by looking up/spying on people, etc – it’s a little crazy.

      • sarah

        me too. i was on it for a year, it’s just too creepy for me.

  • I personally stopped obsessing over Facebook since I knew most of what was being posted wasn’t “real” because I’d post also pics to make people jealous. Isn’t that the point of social media anyway? It reminds me of this New York Times article called the “Agony of Instagram” and how basically people post pics to make their followers jealous, or what others argue is “inspiring” or “motivating.” As for self-esteem, that’s definitely a whole other issue that can only be solved by…blocking all social media? I haven’t figured that out yet.

  • Thamsa

    Thinking about the beauty and body-image aspect, for me, being comfortable in my own skin has always been a struggle. It has been refreshing to see women via Instagram or Tumblr or wherever who are short like me, have dimples in their thighs like me, a wide nose, acne scars, women of colour, women with their natural hair. They are proud of who they are and how they look. It’s important that we see representations of ourselves in the media, in a positive light! The more I have become comfortable in my own skin, the more comfortable I have been seeing other women on social media or in real life who are the complete opposite of me and appreciating their beauty but at the same time not wishing I could look like them or live like them.

  • Thamsa

    On International Women’s Day, I attended a conference with some female artists and one said, “try going a week without saying something negative about another women.” It really gets you thinking eh?

    • Anne V

      Yeah, or try going a week without commenting on other people’s looks! Because even when we pay someone a compliment based on their looks, we focus on just the looks and reinforce the idea that they are important. Of course, they are to some extent, but try thinking about it.

  • Aubrey Green

    I don’t know if this is ever going to be attainable. I think women need to stop being mean towards each other. I think unfortunately there is always going to be our own insecurities regardless of what social media does, or doesn’t do and what another women might say.

    This is such a sensitive subject.

    No matter what anyone says/does real beauty truly comes from within. Be confident and kind and your beauty will always shine through.

  • Kate

    I definitely agree that social media has a profound negative effect on women of all ages…perhaps even more so for those of us who are over 20,over 30 & up and feel like we have to try and keep up with today’s constantly updating platforms to compete w/hordes of ready, willing and much younger women who use it as a platform for “hooking up”& displaying themselves in overtly sexualized profile pics(yes, I’m talking to you Boobs on display McGee). It has had a significantly negative impact on my relationships-especially the one w/significant other who after years together I recently discovered has been carrying on a very different persona online & chatting w/those hordes of up for it females who don’t seem to realize how destructive a little harmless social media flirting can be. It has eroded my trust, confidence & self esteem to nonexistence. Women and girls seem to be stuck in endless competition with one another when we really should be supporting one another and helping each other along in this extremely challenging world we live in today. Man Repeller is one of the few and only sites that encourage this sort of comraderie and is constantly asking the hard questions we all should be thinking about. Thanks so much Leandra, Amelia, Charlotte & team for doing a great job-it’s a service to us all!!!! I simply cannot thank you enough for being a place where I feel less alone w/all these modern problems!

  • daria maria

    I’ll just say that everyone reacts to social media differently.

  • Danilo Silva

    I recomend for people that use computers for hours every day to use a subliminal messages software like SilentIdeas to create self-suggestions according their interests and gain something else from the time spent in front the computer.

  • maria

    What I, as a 20 year old, do to embrace my body and every aspect of it is:
    a) Stop wearing so much make-up in daily life, reserving it for special days or the occasional ” is this really my face?????(tears of agony)” day.
    b) Not pay so much attention to what others are doing. There are probably people out there who envy you (because you are great and beautiful) and you are here like ‘I hate myself’. Stop. I mean people portraits on social media are, almost never, accurate.
    And that’s basically it.
    Oh – and now i can proudly say that I can go out with that new guy with only lipstick. YAY ME!
    FYI: not saying that using make-up is bad, only that we should know that we don’t need it to look good.

  • The merits of social networks…

  • I think we can all agree that low self-esteem has always been around, before computers, before modern civilization… always. There will always be comparisons, and as with most things, too much of something can be really bad but a small dose can be just as good.
    And I’m saying this because I’ve always had really low self-esteem, and social media has made me realize that no one is perfect, and at the same time, we all are.

  • Omar

    I think the same goes for men. Social media has altered the meaning of beauty and masculinity.

  • It is really strange … why would you change your face (or body) for the social media? It’s as strange as beating the gravity law … I hope people will start to be spiritual soon, instead of silly.

  • Malena

    I totally agree. It’s shocking what social media does to the self esteem of some people. Makes me sad.

    X Malena

  • gksp

    You should probably correct this article to attribute the study to “Florida State University” not the above mentioned but non-existent “Florida University”

  • Maya

    I know so many cases of girls who have had plastic surgery just because they photograph better on facebook, hence get more likes, and they are under 21. They are already pretty girls and they obsess about the things that they “have to change” about their bodies. It’s insane and stupid.

  • The Queen Of Dreaming

    People should really give priorities in life and remind themselvs how they appear on social network it’s not the most important thing.

  • ser

    Hate to be annoying, but I believe you mean University of Florida.

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