How Does Social Media Influence Body Image in Youth and Young Women


This essay examines how younger human being’s perceptions of their bodies are prompted through social media, focusing in particular on young girls. They take a look at and examine the numerous methods by which social media structures affect humans’ perceptions of their bodies, which can also have both fantastic and negative results. The article explores how social media affects the target demographic’s self-esteem, body positivity movements, and beauty standards by drawing on various academic sources. The essay highlights the significance of media literacy and empowerment while discussing several interventions and mitigation techniques to lessen the negative impacts of social media on body image.


The impact of social media on body image has gained considerable attention, especially among young women and girls. The pervasive nature of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok exposes individuals to a constant stream of curated images that often contribute to unrealistic beauty standards. This article explores the complex link between body image and social media, considering both the advantages and disadvantages of this effect. The analysis seeks to illuminate the numerous facets of this multifaceted phenomenon by investigating scholarly viewpoints.

The roadmap for this inquiry includes examining how social media contributes to the advertising of beauty standards, assessing its influence on body positivity moves, and evaluating its consequences on the vanity of young women and girls. The essay may even talk about solutions and strategies to mitigate the adverse results of social media on frame image, emphasizing the fee of media empowerment and literacy.


Social Media and Beauty Standards

The relentless influx of idealized body images on social media perpetuates and reinforces conventional beauty standards, fostering a pervasive culture of comparison. Research consistently demonstrates that prolonged exposure to images showcasing thinness, muscularity, and seemingly flawless appearances correlates with heightened levels of body dissatisfaction and the cultivation of unrealistic expectations (Alencar et al., 2021). Social media’s comparison culture amplifies these effects, as individuals constantly gauge their bodies against the meticulously curated images disseminated online. This section critically analyzes the profound role played by social media in shaping and perpetuating societal beauty ideals (Zimmer-Gembeck et al., 2021). By dissecting the mechanisms through which these platforms contribute to the construction of beauty norms, it becomes evident how social media significantly influences perceptions of the idealized body, contributing to widespread body dissatisfaction and unrealistic beauty expectations.

Social Media and Body Positivity Movements

Conversely, social media emerges as a potent instrument for advancing body positivity movements, providing a platform for influencers and activists to challenge and reshape conventional beauty norms. Through strategic utilization of these digital spaces, influencers leverage their reach to celebrate diverse body types, sparking a paradigm shift in societal perceptions. This essay delves into the transformative role of social media as a catalyst for positive change, examining how it amplifies voices that ardently advocate for self-love, acceptance, and inclusivity. By exploring compelling case studies and real-world examples, the essay underscores the instrumental capacity of social media to foster a more body-positive culture (Mancin et al., 2023). In doing so, it sheds light on the transformative potential of these platforms, demonstrating how they contribute to dismantling restrictive beauty ideals and promoting a more inclusive definition of beauty.

Social Media’s Influence on Self-Esteem

Understanding the nuanced impact of social media on the self-esteem of youth and young women demands a comprehensive examination. This section critically reviews studies on the intricate correlation between social media usage and self-esteem. Factors such as pervasive social comparison, the prevalence of online harassment, and the construction of carefully curated online personas are meticulously considered. The objective is to unravel the complex dynamics and discern how these elements collectively contribute to forming self-worth in the digital age (Thai et al., 2023). By scrutinizing the multifaceted aspects of social media’s influence on self-esteem, this analysis aims to provide a nuanced and informed perspective on the psychological implications of navigating virtual spaces for the younger demographic.

Interventions and Strategies

Effectively addressing the detrimental impact of social media on body image requires identifying and implementing strategic interventions. This section explores potential approaches aimed at mitigating the adverse consequences. Media literacy programs stand out as a proactive measure to empower individuals with the skills to critically navigate social media, discerning between reality and idealized representations. Additionally, content moderation emerges as a crucial strategy to filter out harmful content, promoting a healthier online environment. Furthermore, promoting realistic portrayals on social media platforms encourages authenticity and diverse representations, contributing to a more inclusive digital landscape (Sagrera CE et al., 2022). By combining these interventions and cultivating a culture of self-acceptance, these strategies collectively strive to counteract the negative effects of social media on body image, fostering a more positive and empowering online experience for users.


In conclusion, social media’s influence on body image among youth and young women is a complex interplay of societal standards, activism, and individual perceptions. While social media perpetuates traditional beauty ideals, it also serves as a platform for challenging these norms and promoting inclusivity. The impact on self-esteem varies, highlighting the need for targeted interventions. By understanding the multifaceted nature of social media’s influence on body image, society can work towards fostering a digital landscape that uplifts rather than undermines the well-being of its users.


Alencar, A. S., Nascimento, L., B., T., Soares, C. F., Beserra, M. G. X., & Brito, N. L. (2021).Vigorexy: A danger in the search for the ideal body. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 67(1), 96–97.

Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., Hawes, T., & Pariz, J. (2021). A closer look at appearance and social media: Measuring activity, self-presentation, and social comparison and their associations with emotional adjustment. Psychology of Popular Media, 10(1), 74–86.

Mancin, P., Cerea, S., Bottesi, G., &; Ghisi, M. (2023). Instagram use and negative and positive body image: The relationship with following accounts and content and filter uses among female students. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues.

Thai, H., Davis, Wardah, M., W., Perry, S., Adams, A., & Gary S. G. (2023). Reducing social media use improves appearance and weight esteem in youth with emotional distress. Journal for American Psychology Association.

Sagrera CE, Magner J, Temple J, Lawrence R, Magner TJ, Avila-Quintero VJ, McPherson P, Alderman LL, Bhuiyan MAN, Patterson JC 2nd, Murnane KS. (2022). Social media use and body image issues among adolescents in a vulnerable Louisiana community. Psychiatry.

Author: Simon Doonan
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