The bad side of social media: unrealistic beauty standards are causing identity issues


Sabrina Cabrera-Schram, Staff Writer

As my 13-year-old self sat on my bed, I wondered why my body looked so different from the girls I saw on TV. I was just getting back from a long seven-hour day of school, getting a snack and sitting down in the TV room. 

While eating a snack, I started feeling sick to my stomach, not feeling like eating anymore. I got up to go to the bathroom and puked. After a few weeks of this happening, I started noticing I was losing weight at a rapid pace. This occurred after not eating for a few days just so I could have the body that I saw on social media. 

A lot of people don’t understand how bad social media can be for mental health and physical health because of society’s beauty standards that are depicted on these platforms.

Social media has many standards. Some examples of what young women think they have to live up to is having no hair on their body, having a gap between their thighs and having a flat stomach.

There are so many standards that are just so unrealistic to be an all-around perfect Barbie. Young people cannot live up to this unattainable standard.

 Nowadays younger teens are getting phones and access to social media and see all these models who work out almost every day and eat really healthy. Seeing those images makes them think that that’s what their body needs to look like.

According to Alina Petre of Healthline, Eating disorders are a range of psychological conditions that cause unhealthy eating habits. They might start with an obsession with food, body weight, or a body image. In severe cases, eating disorders can cause serious health consequences and may even result in death if left untreated.” 

Those with eating disorders can have a variety of symptoms. “Eating disorders are a range of severe restriction of food, food binges, or purging behaviors like vomiting, or over-exercising.”

“Epidemiological studies,” from the US National Library of Medicine “have suggested that the incidence of eating disorders among adolescent girls has increased over the last 50 years. Approximately 1% to 5% of adolescent girls meet the criteria for bulimia nervosa.” 

I know how stressful it can be to go outside and feel so different from other females. I have been suffering with my body since I was eight because my body developed faster than girls at my school. I didn’t like my body at all back then, and I am now 15 and still dealing with trying to get used to the fact that all bodies are different. I have had to take multiple breaks from social media because it just made my health so much worse.

Social media platforms should take more control over their age restrictions because younger children shouldn’t have to go through this mental stage at such a young age thinking that they are different and defined just by their body figure. 

It is very important that parents believe that recovery is possible. Parents need to keep in mind that their children need support and not negativity. Children look up to their parents as role models so try your hardest not to give up on your child because they need someone to have their backs.