In the last decade, social media platforms have been rising and taking control on how information has been exchanging. It has become an interactive tool for data, as well as an outlet for the public to voice their opinions. Social media spreads negativity regarding body image, which is an example of mass hysteria. It enables the option for any person to show the public their beliefs and concerns, and sways the public opinion for many topics, body image being one of them.
Body image is how you see yourself , how you feel in it, and about it. The media influences the public’s beliefs on how body image is accepted. A person has the decision on whether or not to say how they perceive a body, regardless of how negative or positive this perception might be. That is one of the main reasons why the topic is so looked down upon. When an individual’s body is not fitted for the idea of “perfect”, then they are not accepted, and are personally attacked because of the way he or she looks.
The media is a place for more powerful opinions to take dominance of a specific topic, which is why the spread of negativity on body image has become such an immense problem in society.
Mass spread of the use of these interactive tools have allowed consumers of information to produce their own information, ideas, conceptions, and opinions to the public. Platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, and Facebook, were established to mostly to create opinions and sway the public.
Overtime, people have started to do this themselves which made it almost uncontrollable to stop a person or group of people from rising up and expressing their feelings and beliefs. This has caused a great deal of difficulty in society, whether local or worldwide. It is allowed for anyone to post personal views based on what they have seen, learned, and what has been perceived through them. There are also comment sections and responses for social, political, and economic trends and problems. There is freedom to say as pleased, and although opinions are based off personal preferences such as, age, ethnicity, and social activity, the general tendency is to say what is wanted, despite how harmful or offensive it may be. This freedom attracts an audience, who then decides to join into the negative outbursts, and it develops into a situation that is completely out of hand. With body image, this is a widespread concern, because of the reckless minds and thoughts regarding an individual’s body, which has caused great pain to many people, and leads to awful outcomes.
Culturally, the platforms and the information, opinions, and people, may encourage long-term values that put an effect on an individual’s emotional stability. The perception of the world is based off of what is learned and obtained. The media is a great source for this, and allows information to be take in from beyond just the immediate surroundings that a person has been used to. It entitles the public to know about universal topics and is how the spread of these said topics, like body image, have gotten around so quickly. Before the rise of social media, there was never a source where news could get spread in such a fast manner. It is a place where feedback and information has been given to so many people in only a matter of seconds. For example, singer and songwriter Beyonce Knowles posted a picture announcing her pregnancy. According to Variety Magazine, “after 12 hours on Instagram, Beyonce’s pregnant-pose pic has 7.12 million likes and 360,600 comments. Within one hour of Beyonce’s post going live, it had 2.43 million likes and 166,000 comments. It was also reported at 500,000 tweets about the twins announcement in the 45 minutes after her Instagram post went up (peaking at 17,000 tweets per minute), ” (Spangler 2) Any post has had the full potential to have gone viral. This goes to show how the media and the public have a strong connection and they always have. They work hand and hand to disseminate mass opinion, and it has become a lot more commercialized to speak up saying whatever an individual may want to say, regardless of how damaging is might seem for another person. This has dehumanized body image.
Examples of pessimistic views on the subject has been spreading all over the internet, especially in teenagers because they rely on validity and go to their own platform for this feedback from friends, family, and even complete strangers. This validation seeking is especially apparent in female teenagers because they are flooded with an the idea of being “perfect” through their social media feeds, which force them to believe they need to look like what they are seeing, and when they didn’t achieve positive comments, tweets, and directs on how they look, they have gotten negative ones, or none at all. The comments that are written in disparaging tones lead to these teenagers doing harmful things in to themselves so that they get the body they think they want or deserve, even though the one they have is already beautiful. These particular actions lead to even more devastating outcomes, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. These are all eating disorders that are influenced by so many different factors, one of them being the mass opinion of the media and it’s outlooks towards body image. The connection of the media and public opinion has grown a lot stronger because social media has become a large part of everyday life for most teenagers and adults. Even children have learned how to use the platforms, and it affects them just as much as any other person, even though they might not have a full understanding, they are still influenced by what they see.
These influences can be inimical to society, and some influences are more than just a celebrity, or a makeup trend, but they can also be strangers or even friends who make callous comments intended to hurt someone. An example of this would be the tragic story of Amanda Todd. Amanda Todd was a young girl in her sophomore year of highschool when this heartbreaking event occurred. She was experiencing a great amount of Cyberbullying, which led her to take her own life. A personal picture of her was shared onto the internet and she began to receive a lot of online hate for it. This drove her into wanting to commit suicide, and she attempted it by drinking bleach. It was a failed attempt, but when she went online to go check her profiles, people were posting horrible things about her. It started with one person, and then other people thought it was humorous so they did it too. The cycle kept going and going until nearly her entire school was commenting and posting statements and “memes” about her. She made a video concerning her suicide, and posted in onto the platform YouTube, and then ended her life. Body image took on a large part of this, and so did the effects if it on social media. Because of the picture of her was posted, there was a mass spread of hate towards it, causing the female teenager to hurt herself, in more ways than one. This can be considered ideological because everyone wanted to relate and be with the dominant majority, which was making fun of poor Amanda, and so it became a trend that the opinion of her should have been dismissive.
Social media corrupts positivity in so many different ways, and it targets one specific topic or person so much to the point where it becomes disorderly and unmanageable. In conclusion, body image is a trigger for mass hysteria in social media. Body dissatisfaction has been on the rise for years, and has become a vast example of mass hysteria because of the global phenomenon, which is social media.There needs to be a change, and society is attempting to make one. A handful of companies and public figures have worked to revolutionize the acceptable standards of male and female bodies. It is important for society to learn and accept that everyone is beautiful.