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Social Media Shaping Body Image Perception


Ranjana Kushwaha – Policy Research Associate, her interest lies in social dimensions of the digital ecosystem.

Likes, comments, and followers have become virtual currency, leading to a growing obsession with appearance, and we explore the consequences of seeking validation through curated online personas. Join us as we discuss the challenges and solutions to navigating social media’s influence on body image and promoting self-worth and authenticity.

Welcome to the “Unwiring Tech,”  this podcast is a platform where we understand global digital issues, and explore the ‘why’ behind each topic and incident.  I’m your host Ranjana,. Today, we’re diving deep into the world of social media and its impact on body image. Our smartphones have become our constant companions, offering us virtual connections with friends, family, and communities. But is there a downside to this virtual socialisation? Let’s explore.

Host : Our journey begins with a mother’s concern for her 14-year-old daughter, who went from being cheerful and outgoing to isolated and withdrawn, after getting hooked on social media Sounds familiar, isn’t it!

During the interaction with the girl mentioned earlier, she revealed that, ‘I feel I am ugly, and all my friends and cousins look so nice. I don’t feel comfortable around them, as I am not presentable and so different. I feel unworthy.”

It seems that smartphones have become the gateway to a virtual world where face-to-face interactions are becoming scarce, and validation from the online community becomes crucial.

Host : Likes, comments, and followers have become the currency of virtual validation, especially for teenagers. The quest for this validation leads to a growing obsession with body image. In a shocking case study, we learned about a young girl addicted to taking selfies every 15 to 20 minutes. This behavior indicated social anxiety and a desperate pursuit of being perceived as attractive and popular on social media.

Host : But is comparing oneself with others a normal human behavior? According to the social comparison theory, it is, but social media has taken this to a whole new level. In the past, people might have compared themselves to peers or celebrities from afar, but now, with the abundance of curated images on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, unrealistic beauty standards are all too prevalent.

Host : Let’s face it, on social media, everyone looks flawless. But what lies behind those perfectly edited images? The pursuit of fitting into these unrealistic beauty standards takes a toll on the minds of young individuals, leading to feelings of inferiority and unworthiness.

Host : The virtual world offers a myriad of tools, from filters to editing software, that can transform a photo into something that fits those unattainable ideals. However, the consequences of not meeting these standards can be severe. Many young people resort to extreme measures, from more editing to even cosmetic surgeries, just to feel accepted and worthy.

Host :In a world where self-perception is linked to appearance, it’s no wonder that mental health issues like Body Dysmorphic Disorder, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and loneliness are on the rise among the youth.

Host : A study even revealed that photo editing behavior can contribute to feelings of self-objectification and basing one’s worth on appearance, especially among vulnerable groups like teenagers.

Host : So, how can we navigate this digital landscape without falling into the trap of seeking virtual validation and unattainable ideals? It’s essential to recognize the distinction between the curated online personas and the reality behind them.

Host : Building a healthy body image starts with embracing our unique selves and celebrating diversity. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all definition of beauty.

Host : Let’s encourage open conversations with our young ones about social media, body image, and self-worth. Together, we can create a supportive environment where authenticity is celebrated, and unrealistic standards are challenged.

Host : That’s all for today’s episode of Unwiring Tech. Thank you for tuning in, and remember, your worth is not determined by likes, shares, or followers. Embrace who you are and spread positivity in this virtual world. Until next time.

Host :If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Stay tuned for more intriguing discussions on Unwiring Tech.

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