Study Shows That ‘Reality Check’ Comments On Idealised Instagram Photos Help Curb Body Dissatisfaction In Women. It’s Important To Know That Social Media Has Filters
Social media is a great place to spend some sweet time distracting yourself and escape reality for a while. I can say that I have spent hours scrolling through my social media watching tutorials, cooking videos and memes to pass time. Before you ask, I have not cooked a single item out of this, so there is no pressure to actually make those things. Just saying.
There’s this superficial side of social media which, in fact, leaves you feeling like you simply aren’t good enough. For instance, seeing a friend on a lavish trip can give you major FOMO which eventually tends to make you feel worse than you were feeling before. I mean, just looking at people working out during the lockdown has given me anxiety as I have been a couch potato all this time. So, I know it’s true.
It’s actually a proven fact that social media can actually detrimental to your well-being and perpetuate the feeling of anxiety and self-doubts. One of the many side effects of being on social media, other than hampering your mental health, is harming your body image. Has it even happened that a friend’s Insta post where she’s flaunting her flawless skin or perfect body and has comments like “Why so pretty?” or “Hot” with fire emojis brought you down?
Well, if it hasn’t, you are probably doing well and kudos to you, but a study shows that it does happen with young women. Body Image published a paper titled ‘The effect of viewing challenging “reality check” Instagram comments on women’s body image’ which was authored by Marika Tiggemann and Vasiliki Georgia Velissaris suggests that these idealised and glossy Instagram images with positive comments can actually lead to poor body image satisfaction among women. On the other hand, an image with a reality check comment such as “You know, it’s highly posed, right?” or “this is the work of great lighting and makeup” result in lesser body dissatisfaction. So basically, since the reality check comments on these Insta photos burst the bubble of superficial standards of beauty, women are less likely to get affected by them.
Study suggests reality check comments on Instagram images can help protect women’s body satisfaction https://t.co/jdl64A4LXR
— PsyPost.org (@PsyPost) August 23, 2020
Also Read: A Chinese Influencer Shared Instagram Versus Reality Pictures Of Herself, And The Difference Is Going To Make You Question Unrealistic Beauty Standards
Instagram photos could be really deceiving as they don’t tell you the whole truth. The person looking at them assumes that that is the idealised standard of beauty and end up comparing themselves to those. This study aims at finding the impact these photos and comments on a young women’s body image. “Many of the images on Instagram are unrealistic (filtered, edited, etc.) and unattainable and that people should remember this when looking at them — more generally look at the images with a critical eye and therefore not compare themselves with them.”
It states that “Looking at Instagram has been associated with negative body image. But a recent trend has been calling out or pointing out the unrealism and unattainability of a lot of the images posted (along with the general positive body image movement).” Before you assume otherwise, these are not mean, hateful comments but just reality check comments that call out the filtered beauty and uncover the fakery that goes behind these unrealistically faultless photos.
The study involved the assessment of 194 young women who were given 14 Instagram images of thin and attractive women with three conditions—no comment, a positive comment and a positive comment with a reality check comment. These comments were on the appearance of the women in the photo. The result shows that all the photos increased the level of body dissatisfaction but the ones with a reality check comment had minimum affect on them as compared to ones with no comment or a positive comment.
“Although not the major purpose of the study, the finding that exposure to thin and attractive Instagram images (regardless of comments) led to greater body dissatisfaction is consistent with a growing body of experimental research likewise demonstrating negative effects of viewing idealized Instagram imagery,” it said. This shows the extent to which young women are affected by the idealised beauty and display of perfect on the social media.
Picture Perfect: The Direct Effect of Manipulated Instagram Photos on Body Image in Adolescent Girls
— Sarah Mojarad (@Sarah_Mojarad) July 6, 2020
Talking about the photos with the reality check comments, researchers said, “We wanted to see whether viewing these types of comments helped women to not feel bad about themselves when viewing attractive Instagram images.” “It seems that a reality check comment is able to effectively neutralize a positive appearance comment,” they added. The fact that the coming across these idealised images affected women’s body image regardless of the comments is still disturbing and sad. “Levels of comparison did not differ between conditions, so it appears viewing reality check comments doesn’t make you compare any less,” the researchers said.
Body image issues are real and pretty serious, especially since we are exposed to the romanticised idea of beauty on social media every day while women in real life clearly have scars, acne, body fat and million other beautiful “flaws.” So, why there’s an obsession of projecting yourself as perfect or flawless on social media? This does no good but harm the body image of other young women and deteriorate their self-confidence, which is just sad. I think there shouldn’t be any filters or FaceTune to manipulate the Instagram photos so we can be real once and for all and show young girls that beauty isn’t being thin and attractive or having a blemish-free skin, but being truly yourself.