Identity and Online Advocacy

Unrealistic Body Image and Facial Appearance on Social Media


This paper is about how social media is promoting unrealistic body image and facial appearance on its platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A person’s identity on social media is radically different from their personal identity outside the virtual community. In this case, unrealistic body and facial appearance are promoted on social media platforms through the virtual identity of the user and not the personal one. Unrealistic body image is projected by famous social media users such as actors, models and influencers, who are people the general public usually look up to and eventually try to imitate. Another factor is the projection of an untrue identity on social media platform to showcase unrealistic body image and facial appearance. Users on social media do not reflect their personal identity on this virtual platform. Instead, they advocate for the unrealistic body image and falsify their identities to conform these ideals. This paper also talks about the use of hashtags to fight against the unrealistic body image projection on social media and to how extent it is efficient.

Keywords: #identity, #socialmedia, #unrealisticbodyimage, #advocacy


Identity and social media are two enmeshed factors. Compared to before, where people had to be in the same physical environment and communication was done face to face to be able to get acquainted with or befriend someone, nowadays, just a simple search of any social media platform such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter can give them a lot of information about someone’s identity. “Social Media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010, p. 61). With User Generated Content, users are slowly forming an identity based on the several pictures they post, the things they share on several platforms, the pages they follow and like, the causes they voice out to on the online platforms and all. It is said that between ages 12 and 15, 99% of people who own smartphones go online for more than twenty hours weekly and 69% have their own social media accounts (Ofcom, 2018, as cited in Goodyear, 2020, p. 48). Today, one’s identity is based on their social media profile. Goffman explained how our identity are staged based on the environment we are in (Goffman, 1959, as cited in Buckingham, 2008). People’s identities tend to be malleable based on factors such as who they are with and which environment, they are currently in. “Self-presentational motivations are activated by the evaluative presence of other people and by others’ (even potential) knowledge of one’s behaviour” (Baumeister & Hutton, 1987, pp. 71). For instance, people might identify themselves differently in the virtual community compared to a professional community or a cultural community. People’s behaviour on social media differs from their behaviour in the physical world. “In the past, technology was seen as undermining community, but today, in the age of soft technologies, community has been given new possibilities for its expression” (Delanty, 2018, pp. 200).

However, expression on social media has not always been positive. There are some forms of expressions which can be seen as unrealistic and unachievable especially when it came to the physicality. Social media is promoting unrealistic body image and facial appearance on its platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A person’s identity on social media is radically different from their personal identity outside the virtual community. In this case, unrealistic body and facial appearance are promoted on social media platforms through the social identity of the user and not the personal one. Unrealistic body image is projected by famous social media users such as actors, models and influencers, who are people the general public usually look up to and eventually try to imitate. Another factor is the projection of an untrue identity on social media platform to showcase unrealistic body image and facial appearance. Users on social media do not reflect their personal identity on this virtual platform. Instead, they advocate for the unrealistic body image and falsify their identities to conform these ideals. This paper also talks about the use of hashtags to fight against the unrealistic body image projection on social media and to how extent it is efficient.

Hashtags – promoting or demoting body positivity?

Nowadays, hashtags are extensively used to fight against the unrealistic body image issues on social media. Hashtags, such as #fatspiration, #nomakeupselfie, #loveyourbody and #enhancement-free, are the ones commonly used to promote body positivity on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and selfie. Along with common users, celebrities also use these hashtags to campaign for body positivity. It is argued that these types of hashtags are created to make young women, girls and generally everyone feel less dissatisfied with their physical appearance. Users being the general public as well as several celebrities have adopted the #enhancement-free hashtag, promoting a social media without the need to beautify the images in terms of filters and other extravagant tools (Tiggeman & Zinoviev, 2019). There are several celebrities who promote the makeup free selfies. For instance, actress Gal Gadot and model Cindy Crawford posted makeup-free pictures of themselves on Instagram (Fisher, 2017). However, these celebrities did not make use of the hashtags in their captions. This raises a question. Are hashtags really efficient? The celebrities’ selfies were campaigning positive body image but with no usage of the actual hashtag method. In the research of Tiggeman and Zinoviev (2019), the “enhancement-free images with hashtags led to greater facial dissatisfaction than those same images without hashtags” (pp. 136). These hashtags, instead of decreasing body dissatisfaction and increasing body image positivity on social media platforms, are increasing appearance comparisons. As explained by Tiggeman and Zinoviec (2019), “enhancement-free images on Instagram potentially present women with more realistic representations, expectations, and comparison targets” (pp. 136). This all explains how these specific hashtags such as #enhancement-free and #nomakeupselfie, though used as a method to fight against unrealistic body image and promote body and appearance satisfaction, have the reverse effect to what it was originally created for. The ‘No Makeup Selfie’ campaign also face some backlash such as in the article by Krneta (2017), where social media users, including famous celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Demi Lovato, lie about not using makeup. Along with being inefficient to promote body and appearance satisfaction, hashtags are also misused by the social media users. All this prove the inefficiency of these hashtag campaigns. Though, there are some improvements, it is still not enough to stop the advocacy for unrealistic body image and facial appearance.

Celebrities promoting unrealistic body image and facial appearance

Celebrities such as actors, models and influencers advocate for unrealistic body image and facial appearance on their social media profiles through pictures and sometimes videos. This enhances their images and social identity. This does not only apply to celebrities. The general majority of users on social media platforms, especially the younger generations, take their identities on this virtual platform rather seriously. One’s identity on social media has to be impeccable and without any defect. The general users of social media are easily influenced by celebrities they follow. Several media figures advocates for thin media ideals on social media. As per Maltby et al. (2005), media in general glamorises celebrities and models and promotes “body shapes that are unrealistic and unattainable for many youngpeople” (pp. 18). “Instagram is purely a photo-based platform and is renowned for the ubiquitous ‘selfie’ as well as ‘fitspiration’ imagery” (Cohen, Newton-John & Slater, 2017, pp. 186). This social media platform, being photo-based and famous for its hashtags is often used for body surveillance. There are several profiles on this platform which demonstrate and advocate the journey of getting an ideal body. An ideal body on Instagram is mostly thin and fit, as Cohen, Newton-John and Slater explained (2017). Exposure to such contents is a major promotion to adopt that lifestyle. “Social media offer a constant stream of curated appearance and physical images promoting a typical ideal such as the thin ideal for women and the muscular ideal for men” (Cohen et al., 2019, as cited in Kim, 2020, p. 2).Body image concerns are often raised due to celebrities posting unrealistic photos of themselves, showing an unrealistic body image and facial appearance. Famous people, such as Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber, are all on the social media platform, Instagram and are followed by millions of other users. These celebrities portray an unrealistic ideal of body image. “Viewing idealized made-up images (selfies) of attractive women taken from Instagram reduced young women’s facial appearance satisfaction and lead them to want to change more aspects of their face, hair, and skin than women who viewed appearance-neutral control images” (Fardouly & Rapee, 2019, pp. 132). Young women, in this case, are changing their physical appearances on social media to be more like the celebrities they look up to. For instance, several YouTube channels are creating contents such as “People Instagram Like Kim Kardashian For A Week” (As/Is, 2017). In this particular video, there were talks of how the youngsters were unsure about being as ‘great’ as the celebrity herself and even though they used the filters, they could not capture the same essence of the icon. One of the participants, Sam Stryker shared the amount of work added to put a single picture on Instagram and even stated that “being good at Instagram should be an Olympic event” (As/Is, 2017, 3:17).

Advertisements and Marketing promoting unrealistic body image and facial appearance

Advertisements on social media platforms promote unrealistic body image and facial appearances. Like on other media platforms, social media is also used as a marketing strategy. Several firms market their products on social media platforms, for instance, through ads in between stories on Instagram and on the news feed of Facebook. “[Advertising] tells me to stay young, it tells me to stay thin, it tells me to be very social. The majority of advertisements I see are geared toward cliquish type of atmosphere where a lot of people are always involved in a lot of things” (Shields & Heinecken, 2001, pp. 13). Figure 1 shows an example of an advertisement on Facebook, concerning fitness. Though, consumers might argue that they are not affected by advertisements, “the influence of advertising in general is greater than people realise or are willing to admit” (Zawisza-Riley, 2019, pp. 54). Based on algorithms and big data, users of social media are presented with specific ads such as weight loss ads, college applications ads and consumer products ads. Adverts about body image such as dieting ads, fitness ads and makeup ads often pop up on social media feeds as shown in figure 1. These ads are mostly persuasive and unrealistic. For instance, there are ads promising extreme weight loss in a short amount of time or complete removal of blackheads on the face with only one use of a particular product. These types of marketing collaterals are promoting unrealistic body image and facial appearance. Influenced by the advertisements, users, dissatisfied with their physical appearance, are signing up for dieting and fitness plans and buying all sorts of products to try on their skins.

Figure 1

A picture containing the game, man, board, young

Note. From A picture containing the game, man, board, young, by LeadsBridge 2021 ( Copyright 2021 by Asaolu Hephzy.

Projecting an identity to project and promote unrealistic body image and facial appearance

The social media users of today, especially the younger generations are creating a separate identity of themselves on the social media platforms to conform to the ideals of unrealistic body image and facial appearances and in the process, promoting this advocacy. “In relation to body image, it is well established that self-presentation on social media is of central importance to young people and can drive the ways in which young people participate, interact and communicate” (Handyside & Ringrose, 2017, as cited in Goodyear, 2020, p. 48). This proves how users each express their identities to speak the language of social media, which in this case, is promoting unrealistic body image and facial appearance. Social media has become a network where, along with the ease of sharing and long-distance communication, it “is a key resource in young people’s life for the development of identities and relationships as well as emotional regulations, self-expression, learning and much more” (Goodyear, 2020, p. 48). Basically, being on social media, one eventually starts to fall for the advocacy of unrealistic body image and facial appearances. Users will post pictures and videos of themselves which make them feel inclusive on this platform. Users thus form an identity which may not reflect their real self at all. Their social media identity only reflects how they wish their lifestyles to appear as and not how they actually are. For instance, users may post pictures of themselves where they appear slim or have no spots on their faces. In short term, social media users portray idealistic and perfect identity on social media which do not reflect how they may be in real life. And along with the unreal identities, users are also indirectly continuing the advocacy for unrealistic body image and facial appearance by following the crowd. Due to this advocacy of unrealistic body image and facial appearance, there also appeared to be consequences. Some of them, according to Tiggeman and Zinoviev (2019), are body dissatisfaction and eating disorder. It is also said that “taking and posting self-photos on social media leads to feelings of increased anxiety and lower physical attractiveness” (Tiggeman & Zinoviev, 2019, pp. 132). Steps, such as heavy dieting, are taken by users who are easily influenced by the unrealistic portrayals of body and face on the social network.


As discussed above, the community of social media has a long way before body image and facial appearance can be portrayed positively instead of advocating them in an unrealistic manner. Though, there were campaigns such as the “No Makeup Selfie” campaign, the response was mixed and the campaign even faced backlashes as described above. The advocacy for unrealistic body image is forcing a change in identity or dividing the factor where users can advocate for unrealism on the social media community and not in the physical world. Due to unrealistic body image and facial appearance advocacy, users of social media platforms are somehow forced to follow the crowd to achieve their common goal of popularity. They eventually conform to that lifestyle and community and start promoting an unrealistic identity themselves. Some studies above also show some improvements of decreased body dissatisfaction and acceptance of personal identity on the virtual community through the enhancement-free pictures of users like actors, models and influences. Without the usage of hashtags, there seemed to be slight improvement in the projection of self-identity on social media platforms. However, it is still not strong enough to fight the advocacy for unrealistic body image and facial appearance. Other measures, apart from hashtag campaigns, need to be considered on the online platform itself to promote the advocacy for positive body image and demote the advocacy for unrealistic body image and facial appearance.


Asaolu, H. (2021). A picture containing the game, man, board, young. LeadsBridge.

As/Is. (2017, May 12). People Instagram Like Kim Kardashian For A Week [Video]. YouTube.

Baumeister, R. F. & Hutton, D. G. (1987). Self-Presentation Theory: Self-Construction and Audience Pleasing. In B. Mullen & G. R. Goethals (Ed.), Theories of Group Behaviour (1st ed., pp. 71-87). New York: Springer.

Buckingham, D. (2008). Introducing Identity. In D. Buckingham (Ed.), Youth, Identity, and Digital Media (pp. 1-22). The MIT Press.

Cohen, R., Newton-John, T. & Slater, A. (2017). The relationship between Facebook and Instagram appearance-focused activities and body image concerns in young women. Body Image, 23, 183-187. 

Delanty, G. (2018). Virtual Community. In G. Delanty (Ed.), Community (3rd ed., pp. 200-224). London: Routledge.

Fardouly, J. & Rapee, R. M. (2019). The impact of no-makeup selfies on young women’s body image. Body Image, 28, 128-134.

Fisher, L. A. (2017). The 71 Best Celebrity #NoMakeup Selfies. Harper’s BAZAAR.

Goodyear, V. (2020). Narrative Matters: Young People, social media and body image. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 25(1), 48-50.

Kaplan, A. M. and Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59-68.

Kim, H. M. (2020). What do others’ reactions to body posting on Instagram tell us? The effects of social media comments on viewers’ body image perception. New media and society, 00(0), 1-18. 0.177/146144820956368 

Krneta, A. (2017). 15 Top “Makeup-Free” Liars. The Talko.

Maltby, J., Giles, D. C., Barber, L. & McCutcheon, L. E. (2005). Intense-personal celebrity worship and body image: Evidence of a link among female adolescents. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10, 17-32.

Shields, V. R. & Heinecken, D. (2001). Stereotypes and Body Parts: Advertising Content. In V. R. Shields (Ed.), Measuring Up: How Advertising Affects Self-Image (pp. 13-34). University of Pennsylvania Press.

Tiggeman, M. and Zinoviev, K. (2019). The effect of #enhancement-free Instagram images and hashtags on women’s body image. Body Image, 31, 131-138.

Zawisza-Riley, M. (2019). The effects of gendered ads on audience. In M. Zawisza-Riley (Ed.), Advertising, Gender and Society (1st ed., pp. 54-70). London: Routledge.

45 thoughts on “Unrealistic Body Image and Facial Appearance on Social Media

  1. Hello Vejetaa,
    Your paper was really interesting to read and well-structured. Through your paper, I have learned how unrealistic body image on social media can affect someone.I agree with your point that more and more influencers on social networking sites are now addressing this issue and trying to raise awareness about it. And we can see that an enormous amount of users on social platforms are now contributing to normalizing beauty standards and imperfections and flaws whereby they are showing their authentic self and promoting it and encouraging others to feel good about themselves.
    However, do you feel people are convinced to change their perspective and bringing a shift
    that everything should look picture perfect on social media like Instagram to posting authentic pictures or it’s something that will happen and chage with time gradually?

  2. Hi Vejetaa,

    Thanks for your sharing on the promotion of unrealistic body and facial appearance on social media platforms. Hope to see that other measures could be introduced to correct this negative effect apart from hashtag campaigns.

    Hope that all users will exercise caution and be wary of such negative impact.

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Thank you for reading my paper and sharing your views on it.

      And yes, other measures must be introduced and possibly by the social media platforms operators and users themselves. This topic is rather sensitive and has been here for a long time. It is time for things to turn around and instead of promoting unrealistic factors, we should promote body positivity more.

      Again, thank you for reading my paper.

  3. Hi Vejetaa,

    I found it quite interesting that selfie satisfaction decreased when posted along with hashtags like #NoMakeUp. Why do you think that is? Could there be a psychological factor whereby highlighting the lack of enhancements, make-up or digital editing, makes people focus on the perceived flaws?

    1. Hi Eva,
      Thank you for reading my paper and sharing your views on it.
      For your question, I think the #NoMakeUp causing a dissatisfaction is psychological. When people post pictures with no makeup, comparisons are greater than a picture with enhancement.Makeup can enhance a person’s appearance. Without it, a bare face can show factors such as dark circles, spots and acne. When a person, like an influencer, post a bare-face picture as such, users usually would try to look for flaws instantly and compare the appearances with themselves. Comparing flaws, acnes, spots and all can make one dissatisfied with their own appearance. For instance, Gal Gadot posted a picture without makeup. (
      Users, especially female, might compare themselves to her and probably feel dissatisfied, even though that was not the intent of the photograph.
      I hope I answered your question.

  4. Thanks Vejeeta!
    Do you know if eating disorders are more common now, with the advent of social media?
    I grew up in the 80s and eating disorders were quite common then, way before social media was invented. I wonder if there’s been a change.
    Thanks for your paper!

    1. Hi Sonia,
      Thank you for reading my paper and sharing your comment.
      Eating disorder has been linked to media long before media consisted of social media as you mentioned. The impact is mostly on adolescents and children.
      Here is a link dated from 2003:
      This shows how media in general is linked to the body dissatisfaction of adolescents and children.
      After the advent of social media, the latter has become an integral part of one’s life. More than 60% of world’s population are on social media platforms. The unrealistic body image and facial appearance, as mentioned in an article by Witmer (2020), is “difficult to escape” (para. 4). The article also says that “the pressures on people to look a certain way seems to have increased” (Whitmer, 2020, para. 4). Nowadays, as well, people aged from 12-25 are more affected by eating disorder.
      Here is a link proving that:
      Along with confirming the presence of body dissatisfaction, Whitmer (2020) also lists reasons how social media is a major reason for eating disorder.
      Here is the link:
      “Of American elementary school girls who read magazines, 69% say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape. 47% say the pictures make them want to lose weight” (Martin, 2010, as cited in National Eating Disorder Association, n.d., para. 7).
      Social media, allowing the sharing of images and media content has increased the body dissatisfaction and often, that led to consequences such as mental distress and eating disorder. A research by Lonergan et al. (2020) showed how certain social media behaviours (concerning media sharing) have led to eating disorder.
      I hope I answered your question well.

  5. Hello Vejetaa,
    Thank you for the paper. The points you raised were very interesting and informative. I’m agreeable that unrealistic body image and appearance is in some way causing an issue in the community which needs to be addressed. This paper has definitely broaden my knowledge on this subject.

    1. Hi Navmeetsing,
      Thank you for your comment and I’m glad this paper helped you in some ways.

  6. Hi Vejataa,

    I went through your paper and its a very well written one, however don’t you think that it is more important to speak about being healthy instead of pointing out directly to the acceptance of body figure? There are tons of influencers and actors who speak about accepting the body image but not a lot talk about the consequences of being too fat or too slim as being too fat or to slim can led to serious health issues. I feel like it should be more about acknowledging the percentage of the body fat.
    Also, I would like to point out the part where you talk about accepting the “natural self” as in “no makeup”, being all natural is pretty as well putting on make-up. Do you think that the boost of “no make-up” on social media platform can have a negative impact on people who wants to put on make-up? Because somehow people will criticize them by saying that “they put too much of make-up or they are fake”.

    1. Hi Shruti,
      Thank you for reading my paper and sharing your views on it.
      For your first question, being healthy does not necessarily mean being a slimmer or fatter size. I agree that health should be taken in to consideration.
      Let’s take Lizzo for example. She shared her health transformation openly on the media, talking about stretch marks and normalising her body.
      Here is a link to an article:
      In this defence, I would like to say that different people have different types of body. One can stay slim or fat and still be healthy, no matter what kind of regime they take.
      The issue I talked about was indeed about appearance and not health. However, users on social media, especially a majority of the younger generation concentrate on looking perfect on social media than being healthy. For instance, there is the struggle that Demi Lovato went through in her early years. Her eating disorder was caused by the fact that she was bullied on being fat.
      Here is a link to an article:
      Along with that, in the recent years, she also talked about the pressure put on her for her food intake.
      Overall, this shows that maintaining a healthy body is important indeed, however, as long as it does not affect the emotional healthy of the person.
      For the second question, when I talked about natural self, I mean authentic self. The ‘no makeup’ campaign was an example for people who feel pressured to use such products to fit in the society in general; not for those already wearing makeup. These are to help those people to understand that they should not be ashamed to show their bare faces. Sure, there are people who adore wearing makeup and products on their body. The ‘no makeup’ campaign is not for shaming anyone on social media. It is for people to show their support for a specific cause. The initial cause of ‘no makeup’ was to raise money for cancer research.
      Here is a link to an article:
      I believe the campaigns promoting authenticity on social media platforms are done to help users who feel belittled with their appearances and not in any way with an intent to harm people who wear makeup and enjoy wearing makeup.

  7. Hello Vejeta, hope you are doing well. I have read your paper, and it is well-written and argued. However, I would like to say that ‘soft’ digital space (as you’ve mentioned), is battling against the feeling of social comparison from un realistic body surveillance, which means many influencers are promoting an authentic self online. They start posting pictures of them, showing there flaws and trying to make the common followers to relate to them. From that, followers feel a strong and intimate relationship with them (which is a ‘true’ belief for the followers). Needlessly, it is true about authenticity is marketable, but at least it is creating that change, not only by the ‘dare-ness’ of posting a picture of themselves without makeup on, but through reactions and comments. If an influencer is portraying authenticity, people will come to react. Supported by the previous comment of Lakshana, “small changes are better than no changes”. Sharing is a change. Commenting is a change. Talking about it is a change. According to iang & Ngien, 2020, as social media proliferates and the negative aspects are being heard, social media is entering into pathway that counters those sentiments, through inspirational pages and adverts. However, I would like to ask you a question. Does unrealistic body surveillance will continue to become a stagnant issue? Or would the mindset around it will change in the coming years?

    Reference list:
    Jiang, S., & Ngien, A. (2020). The Effects of Instagram Use, Social Comparison, and Self-Esteem on Social Anxiety: A Survey Study in Singapore. Social Media + Society, 6(2), 205630512091248.

    1. Hi Mageshwari,
      Thank you for reading my paper and commenting on it. I appreciate it.
      Though, not much talked about, these issues do exist and have existed long before social media itself. Social media has just broaden the reach of communication. Comparison were made with people in the physical vicinity and on television before Web 2.0 and now, social media is how we all compare ourselves to others based on lifestyle and others. The issue of comparison and self dissatisfaction is more of an emotional issue in my opinion. And these issues, compared to before, are now talked about. Emotional health is now considered important and valid. And the campaigns such as ‘Love Yourself’ are actions taken to fight stereotypes that people have to live up to. For instance, as I mentioned in my paper, the males should be muscular and the females should be thin (Cohen et al., 2019, as cited in Kim, 2020). These kinds of ideals are what are forcing people to take harmful actions towards their bodies just to fit in an unrealistic society. As you mentioned the comment of another classmate, Lakshana, changes will be made for sure but it will be slow. To change the mindset of the entire social media community, it will definitely not be instance. Changes have already started and should continue constantly.
      I hope I answered your question. Feel free to give your opinion on this matter.

      Kim, H. M. (2020). What do others’ reactions to body posting on Instagram tell us? The
      effects of social media comments on viewers’ body image perception. New media and society, 00(0), 1-18. 10.1177/1461444820956368

  8. Hey Vejetaa!

    This was an interesting conference paper with an argument that I agree with, and I really enjoyed reading it. You have also backed up your ideas very well with your use of examples and great research. Good job!

    Using inspirational and empowering hashtag campaigns on social media platforms actually create positive social change and it is indeed a way to fight the advocacy for unrealistic body image and facial appearance, but as you mentioned, they are unfortunately not strong enough and do not bring the big change we want to see.

    I think the main issue is the way social media platforms work these days, especially Instagram which is a picture-based platform. When people scroll through Instagram, all they see or want to see are aesthetic and highly edited photos of people or influencers they follow. Social media platforms are used differently now, and it is no longer about connecting with people, but more about popularity. It all revolves around the number of followers and likes on perfect selfies, and in my opinion, these are the reasons why people adhere to unrealistic beauty standards.

    Have you heard about Instagram testing the option of removing/hiding the likes from Instagram posts? The CEO has been talking about this for almost two years now, do you think that this could be one measure to promote advocacy for positive body image and encourage people to be themselves and post more photos without any modifications?

    Waiting for your answers,


    1. Hello Anne-Sophie,
      Thank you for reading my paper and commenting on it.
      Indeed, I heard about it. This is directly related to the pressure on maintaining a social media identity. Some people, seeing how others are appreciated on social media platforms, due to several likes, are easily pressured about them doing something wrong. This is how the dissatisfaction issue starts. And it is not only for body image and facial appearance but also other issues such as capabilities and lifestyle. It sure is a subtle way to decrease dissatisfaction but in my opinion, it is highly debatable if it is going to promote body positivity. Likes are one issue which affects the users. The appearance itself on the picture is another and more pressing in my opinion. People can show superiority on social media without likes as well. The content itself can be shared by others showing popularity. In my opinion, the pressure will be less when posting a picture but the terming it as a way to post more pictures without modification and encourage people to stop faking their identities is debatable.
      Let me know what you think about this.
      Here is a link about an article I read on Instagram hiding likes:

  9. Hi Vejetaa,
    your paper is truly amazing to read!
    i agree that unrealistic image has become a norm on social media platforms especially on Instagram which is definitely something fake with all the editing.
    Best regards to you,

    1. Hi Jensee,
      Thank you for your comment and for reading my paper. I appreciate it.
      I am glad that you enjoyed it.

  10. Hey Vejetaa!
    I must say even as a regular user of social media, I had not thought of a lot of points you made in your paper. It is a really interesting read and it has definitely changed my way of viewing things on the social medial platforms.

  11. Hey Vejetaa!
    I must say even as a regular user of social media, I had not thought of a lot of points you made in your paper. It is a really interesting read and it has definitely changed my way of viewing things on the social medial platforms.

  12. Hey Vejetaa!
    I must say even as a regular user of social media, I had not thought of a lot of points you made in your paper. It is a really interesting read and it has definitely changed my way of viewing things on the social medial platforms.

    1. Hello Teena,
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      And I’m glad this paper helped you in some way.

  13. Hi Vejetaa!
    Great essay! I really enjoyed it and I agree with you. There was one thing in the essay that stood out to me and that was the quote by Goffman where people tend to act according to their surroundings. In my opinion, I agree with that and I think people generally reserve their authentic self due to the opinions of societies. In terms of social media, there are too many celebrities and influencers promoting unrealistic body images and facial appearances on social media and I think this is extremely toxic, especially for the younger generation as they obviously believe that these unrealistic body images are realistic. However, this is obviously not the case as a lot of factors go into posting or promoting body images on social media.

    Apps such as photoshop or facetune have also become significant when it comes to influencers and I think users often forget that these apps exist. In my opinion, promoting body images that are unrealistic and unattainable through false advertising and promotions often leads to mental health issues, eating disorders, and even feeling self-conscious, etc.

    I also liked how you’ve included relevant and interesting examples to back up your arguments

    1. Hello Saranya,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate it.
      Along with academic research, there are also several movies which show people hiding their authentic self because of society. A common example can be ‘Mean Girls’ where the main character turned plastic to be popular. The filtering and photoshopping, though initially used for enhancement are used for beautifying pictures according to a code that was invented to demote natural beauty. And there should be a concrete and solid way to fight these bias norms.
      Again, thank you so much for your comment.

  14. Hello Vejetaa. Thank You for this paper. To be honest, I have faced such issues myself regarding my image, my body and my appearance. In a way, I will say I have body shamed my own self. I feel it is really important for social media to promote things such as ”accepting your body image”!
    I love the fact that you have focused so well and you presented your ideas clearly. Your paper has all the explanations clearly. BTW, my paper too has a paper on identity and ‘body dissatisfaction. You can all check it out

    1. Hi Chitrakshi,
      Thank you for your comment.
      And I appreciate that my paper helped you in some ways.
      I read your paper and commented my views on it.

  15. Hi Vejetaa,

    very well-written piece!
    I loved that you highlighted the correlation between untrue identity and unrealistic body image in a perfect way.

    I totally agree social media affects individuals negatively, in pushing them to engage in life-threatening beauty trends due to social compliance and acceptance in society. However, it is often having posts, hashtags, and stories of individuals who have fought hard to change beauty standards through sheer dedication and hard work, be it exercising, eating healthy, or building self-esteem and body acceptance through hashtags campaigns.

    from my perspective, individuals have to understand that there is no actual representation of what or who is perfect, that everyone possesses some kind of uniqueness and that what makes them special.

    I think this phenomenon has been existing in the traditional media such as magazines and movies. so I personally believe that platforms alone haven’t created these negative side effects but manipulation apps used to create undetectable alterations are the main reason for increasing an individual’s body dissatisfaction and disorder eat.

    I do have one question though, what is your thought on the manipulation apps such as photoshop and filters technique?
    Do you think they are to blame for facilitating the process of altering or transforming a photograph?

    We both share the same kind of argument about the influencers. I have some points in my paper that might interest you. I invite you to check it out and share your thoughts.

    Best regards

    1. Hi Marwah,
      Thank you for your comment.
      For your question, these applications are one way people use to alter photographs they post online. Originally, these applications, like Lightroom CC, were made to enhance a picture, hiding its defects and more. However, some users took it to another level by altering their figures. These are caused by dissatisfaction. Exactly how social media platforms, like Instagram, were created for visual communication purposes and ended up being a platform where some users post pictures which only make them look better than others. The application is not really the issue; it is the way people use it. And due to these factors, several filters are being sold out at high rates to manipulate people who might even not know how to use such products on appropriate pictures and videos. I believe posting a picture after enhancing it is not the problem; the problem is when users change their physical identities by using these applications.
      I hope I answered your question.

  16. Hello Vegetaa,

    This was a very enjoyable read! Your paper clearly showcased how undeniably social media has impaired the beauty standards among people globally. I totally agree with your point that more and more influential personalities on social media are now addressing this issue along with the rise in awareness. We can see an increasing number of people on social media who are now contributing to normalizing beauty standards and imperfections. However, even though influential personalities are addressing this issue, we can still notice various make up and clothing brands marketing their products; with models with unreal beauty standards; on several social platforms, do you believe that the beauty standards are highly subject from the popular brands’ adverts, thus reducing the number of ads concerning beauty products on online media may contribute to resolving this issue?

    Nice points and thank you for this read !

    1. Hi Theshandev,
      Thank you for your comment.
      For your question, the ads are not the main issue. The main aim of ads is to get clients to buy their products and a by-product of that is definitely users feeling dissatisfied with their body image and facial appearance. And nowadays, more ads are for weight-loss than beauty products. The thin-ideal body is the issue here which was created by users themselves. Though acne can be treated by a dermatologist, a body type is not a thing to be fixed and it should be shamed. Being fit and healthy does not mean staying thin. Beauty products ads on social media have a certain effects as all ads do but ads are presented to users who have specific algorithms. For instance, a user interested in literature might get an add for a writing tool package. Decreasing them might not be a solution but making them more acceptable in terms of body image might.
      I hope I answered your question.

      1. Hi Vegetaa,

        Well Yes I totally agree with your point! Instead of decreasing the adverts, producing them in such a way that they will promote realist views on beauty and body image might be a better solution; since i guess they will also contribute to the raise positivity and body satisfaction amongst the consumers related to physical appearance.

        Thanks of reply my query Vegetaa, Best!

  17. Hi Vejetaa,
    Your paper is well structured and was really interesting to read. I did not really think about how much unrealistic body image on social media can affect someone. I realize after reading this paper that I do in fact make remarks to myself about how I wish I looked like someone on Instagram but never really gave it that much of a thought. I am familiar with self-love campaigns that uses hashtags. I am sure you have heard of the group BTS who had the love yourself campaign. However, are campaigns enough? People can be really hard to convince especially if it does not necessary go their way. Insecurities is a powerful tool. Is it just better to get rid of those kind of platforms all together? Or maybe is it an issue that can be fixed slowly with time and the right campaigns?

    1. Hey Munika,

      Thank you for your comment.
      For your questions, campaigns are surely doing changes. Slowly but surely. Being a group like BTS, who is famous in the entire world, the love yourself campaign can reach a wider audience compared to say a local influencer. However, as some famous influencers are promoting the self love campaign, some are also promoting unrealistic body image and facial appearance. Some users are even promoting this unknowingly as it is seen as the norm of the social media platform. I Maybe, because it is a picture-based platform, users feel like they have to look their best. Instagram is not to be antagonised here but the way users transformed it over the years is. Slowly, but with the right campaigns, there definitely could be changes.
      I hope I answered your question.

  18. Hello Vejeta,

    Well discussed paper!
    I do agree that Instagram being the most harmful app for mental health does have drastic effects on female users. With the actual trends which are boosting the accounts of celebrities and influencers faking their identity and body, everyone are in the pursuit of the “fake it till you make it” mindset. Do you think banning Instagram would help decrease the mindset of women objectification and help the society to embrace self-love?

    Also, I would appreciate if you could review my conference paper and comment.

    Awaiting your response,

    1. Hey Avneesh,

      Thank you for your comment.
      For your question, I do not think banning Instagram is going to change much. Sure, it is one of the most popular social media websites currently but the problem is the presentation not the platform. Users are the ones who promote this ideals and not the platform. Like any other social media, this one also is for communication and made for pictures mostly. The way it is viewed today; the way it is transformed is the doings of the users. Control on the platform may be ideal in this situation.
      I hope I answered your question.

  19. Hi Vejetaa,
    I really appreciate the topic you chose which is comparatively a fact in today’s world which is why a person needs to think carefully before putting something online. Adding unrealistic details on social media is a way to show that those people are faking themselves as you mentioned that people do not reflect on their personal identity but they focus more on what is on the social media platforms. Your conclusion was really well backed up with all your points which you wrote. One thing I found very interesting is that some people are doing “No make up” challenge of showing how they really are with or without make up. This is very important point which needs to be taken into consideration in order not to fool people, thank you very much for presenting such an excellent work with much details.

  20. hi,
    Very interesting paper, that shows how image is very important on social media as Instagram , and I think that is is a subject that must be heard by youngsters as influencers usually uses unrealistic images to get more followers and so on , sometimes they are faking their own lifestyle to show something that it is not real and what do you think about the youngsters that are watching them and want to do the same thing as them?

    1. Hello Jean.
      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.
      For your questions, I think youngsters are already connected to the web since a very young age in this era. Evidently, they also want to feel included in the virtual community. Many youngsters indulge in extensive diet routine and fitness plans after being influenced by celebrities and social media stars. The desire to feel included and to get popular often drives them to take such actions. However, some people on social media are fighting to promote positive body issues which may change the point of view of the general users of social media which includes a great amount of youngsters.
      I hope this answers your question.

  21. Hi Vejetaa! I hope you are doing fine!
    Your paper was well structured and you made an excellent analysis of your topic, so good point on that!
    I do agree with you that social media projects the unrealistic beauty standards, but it has also been noticed that influencers are performing an authentic self to consolidate their online identity. What are your views on this?
    Do you think there is a fading barrier between online and offline identities?
    You also mentioned about hashtags. We all have noticed that hashtags can actually make a positive change on social media, small changes are better than no changes right?

    Thank you very much for this informative paper!
    Take care!

    1. Hi Lakshana,

      Thank you so much for reading my paper.

      I agree with you on the point that some influencers are promoting authentic self. And hashtags are also causing small changes nonetheless. All these are leading to something positive, even though at a snail’s pace. According to me, it is going to take much more to break this stereotypical unrealistic body ideal on social media which is greater in power. Though, some influencers, every now and then post something about body positivity, much more should be done to break the stigmatisation about certain body types.

      Thank you for your constructive comment again, Lakshana!

  22. Hi Vejetaa,
    I really enjoyed reading this paper as I can see how these aspects of unrealistic body image and facial appearance have spread on Instagram. In an attempt to follow the trend we tend to shape our mindset and even alter our original pictures with a lot editing to feel more included. I feel that people should give less importance to influencers as many of them promote unrealistic lifestyle. What do you think about influencers ruining the Instagram experience?

    1. Hi Ignesh,

      Thank you so much for reading my paper. I appreciate it.
      To answer your question, I do not think all influencers ruin the Instagram experience. It is not their intentions anyways. The platform, which is picture based, is bound to force comparisons and dissatisfaction about physical-self. I think the social media experience is ruined based on the expectations of trends. Trends such as ‘being fit and slim’ and having the dream healthy lifestyle cause expectations to rise. Users think they have to follow the trend which causes dissatisfaction about themselves. I hope this answers your question.

  23. Hi Vejetaa,
    Very interesting and intriguing paper you got here and I must say, I enjoyed reading it.
    It was a very delicate topic to ponder on but personally, I think you succeeded in projecting your ideas. I agree on the fact that social media promotes unrealistic body images which can be quite harmful to an individual.
    However, do you think one day this issue can be contained?
    With the world rapidly metamorphosing into a digitized version and the popularity of jobs such as influencers is increasing, what is your take to discourage this particular activity?

    1. Hi Temul,
      Thank you for reading my paper and sharing your views.

      Honestly, there are other ways to campaign for acceptance of self that are being used. Media platforms, along with social media platforms, often campaign for subjects such as ‘love yourself’ and ‘no-filter’ such as in television shows. On such media, people tend to relate to characters which may help them feel less dissatisfied concerning their body image and facial appearance. On social media however, it is not popular and often are controversial. As users of social media, we tend to hide our imperfections and defects. We want our social media profiles to be ideal. In other words, though our personal identity may not reflect perfectionism, we make sure that our social and virtual identity does.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *