R&D // FMP Research into Body Positive Movement & Social Media Impact // For Submission

The video above is a clear, simple and modern way of looking at the body positive movement. I first became aware of this back in 2015 when the talk of female empowerment started to rise up again with movements such as #FatKini, #IAmNoAngel and “The Perfect Body” we’re appearing all over social media platforms such as Instagram.

In the year 2015 we saw the rise of the first plus-size models on the modelling scene after over 20 years of photoshopped models. It’s easy to say the body positive movement is targeted mainly at women but this isn’t necessarily true, the body positive movement is viable to all bodies, male and female and it’s these movements that are pushing the boundaries on what is socially acceptable – natural, normal bodies. It’s about redefining what “beautiful” really means. There has been a cultural shift in attitudes towards the words “fat” and “skinny” and we have the internet to thank for that.

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become the norm in everyones lives, especially teenagers but do they help or hinder our view on our own bodies? It’s not the exposure of the images we see on tv, social media or magazines it’s how we interact with them that damages our emotional, physically and mental state. There is a constant pressure to get a certain amount or “likes” on the perfect profile photo and the constant comparisons we make with each other. Why don’t I look like them? Why is my hair not like that? Why is my body not like that?

Proud2BMe asked the questions and teens from all over answered their thoughts on whether social media helps or hurts us:

“It’s only the ‘standard beauty’ who gets the ‘likes’ I feel like to be the hot girl, you have to be like that, or wear your shirt too low and your skirt too high.” –Kirby, 18

“I think that social media platforms hurt because young people are now having their bodies judged online in addition to being judged in person, which causes them to feel trapped.” –Jen, 17

A study conducted by Florida State University asked 20 women to browse Facebook for 20 minutes and then see how they felt about themselves after versus 20 women who browsed images of rainforests and cats to compare the impact social media has on us. The results were a greater dissatisfaction with oneself browsing Facebook than the other and this is due to social media embodying all the elements to contribute to low self-esteem.

“Social media creates an environment where disordered thoughts and behaviours really thrive.” – Claire Mysko, award winning author and expert on body image.

The way to combat the negative community and comments harvesting in social media platforms is to post uplifting, positive messages. Not only will this empower the individual who posted it but the thousands who will see it.

The All Woman Project founded by Charli Howard and Clementine Desseaux is a online project that promotes self-acceptance and female body empowerment they have this to say:

“Women are often segregated or stereotyped in fashion and the media; some are deemed the “real” women of the industry, whereas others are deemed “high-fashion” and editorial. Your body shape shouldn’t define your femininity or ability as a woman! We believe size or colour doesn’t limit us as models or as women. We believe all body shapes and ethnicities deserve to be represented in fashion and in the media, helping girls worldwide feel positive and confident about themselves. The All Woman Project illuminates the idea that all women are more similar than we’re made out to think. We all have physical flaws and imperfections, and that does not make us more or less beautiful. Rather than retouching or shying away from them, we should embrace them. Our physical attributes do not define us as women; our strength and character does. All of this make us all woman.”

It’s clear that as the years go on social media and body image are a steady positive movement – with my fmp I want to contribute to this movement by including myself, my own story and the stories of others.

References

“All Woman Project”. Allwomanproject.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

Fischer, Erin. “9 Body Positive Social Media Campaigns That Are Changing How We Perceive Beauty Both In And Outside The Fashion World”. Bustle.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

“How Does Social Media Affect Your Body Image?”. Proud2Bme. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

Ospina, Marie. “What Is The Body Positive Movement? – Everyday Feminism”. Everyday Feminism. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

“Positive Body Confidence – How Social Media Can Affect Body Image”. Dove UK. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.

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