Movies, television, magazines, and social media have long been known to impact the way people see themselves. These platforms offer opportunities for people to compare their bodies, appearances, and lives to those of celebrities, friends, and acquaintances, often causing them to develop low levels of self-esteem.
Now, a new study done by the Florida House Experience – a center located in Deerfield Beach, Florida that offers health and addiction treatments – shows just how significant the effects of media may be on both men and women.
For the survey, just over 1,000 people from different parts of the U.S. were asked about various topics including body positivity, confidence levels, selfies, and different mainstream media outlets. Some questions the study hoped to answer included which states have residents that struggle with body image, how many social media “likes” make people comfortable with the selfies they post, and more.
One thing the study shows is that women are more likely to lose body confidence with age than men are – 47 percent of the women surveyed reported that change.
The study also shows that although 56 percent of women surveyed feel that they have endomorph bodies (bodies that are soft and round), those body types are not well-represented in mainstream media. In fact, nearly 70 percent of the data pool answered that larger body types are underrepresented.
Women are also much more likely than men to have their self-esteem levels swayed by mass and social media. Women are influenced by factors such as social media, television and movie stars, significant others, and family and friends, while men are much more driven by how they feel and their significant others.
The arguably most important statistic that came from the study, however, is that 88 percent of women surveyed compare themselves to the pictures and videos they see in mainstream media channels, and 55 percent of them are unhappy with what they bring to the table.
The fact that most women compare themselves to people in magazines and on Instagram is not surprising, considering that numerous studies have shown this in the past. But having a measurable, tangible number – and one as large as 88 percent – gives the situation even more gravity.
This number is also an issue because a tendency to compare oneself to others and a low self-confidence level can lead to very dangerous things such as eating disorders, self-harm, drug use, and even suicide.
So, what can be done to prevent these tragic outlets?
Today points out that “it can’t hurt to give Instagram a rest,” and while that may work in the short-term, it doesn’t seem like a very permanent solution.
The Florida House Experience does admit that developing a strong self-esteem is a journey that begins with surrounding yourself with supportive people. You should also be doing, wearing, and posting things you like. However, if someone starts facing serious body or self-esteem issues, it’s time to visit a healthcare professional.
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