Cameras, Cameras, Cameras! The Impact of Social Media on Body Image

lotus with leaf
Water lily from kayaking trip

We are the most photographed generation ever.

Our media-crazed culture chips away at body image.  But now that Facebook and other social media play starring roles in the lives of many, the chipping has changed to chiseling.

Cameras, cameras, cameras everywhere.

How does social media influence our perceptions of our bodies?  It heightens our awareness.  Many who were slightly obsessed with body image are now hyper-obsessed.

On the flip side, maybe the presence of social media has inspired some  to live healthier due to the plethora of pictures of themselves.  For example, some whose health suffered due to obesity now exercise regularly and eat healthier foods.

If beauty is in the eye (lens) of the beholder, this is certainly supremely But my fear is we are now even more saturated with negative self-talk.  If I stand this way, do I look thinner? …If I tilt my head at this angle, do I look prettier? 

I recently needed an updated professional headshot.  Since I assisted someone in earning a BA at Brooks Institute of Photography years ago, I decided to take a few head shots with my web cam.

I experimented with what I’d learned.  Different angles.  Unique head tilts.  Soft focus.  Hard focus.  Cropping this way.  Cropping that way.  A clean background.  A warm background.

In the end, I didn’t use any of the shots.

Social Media certainly creates a new frenzy for the body image equation.

How do you think social media impacts our body awareness? Don’t be camera shy. Go ahead, share your thoughts.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. nicole says:

    social media has held me accountable to my health, in terms of trying to beat, eventually beating, and now maintaining an exbulimic binge and purge free kind of life. my bulimia was most ferocious when AOL was a phenomenon and there was no such thing as facebook or even high speed internet. so i was able to hide from people, in real life and in the non-existent social internet world. deception in pictures (http://nicoleandgwendolyn.com/2011/06/21/deception-in-pictures/). is something that bulimics NOW won’t be able to write 10 years from now because their photographs are all over the internet. everyone sees. nobody can hide. this is a very interesting subject, and i plan to write more about it. thanks, cherrie! x

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    1. Nicole, I’m so glad that social media held you more accountable. That’s a great point. And of course, a great byproduct is we get to see your photos of your new, fun life with Gwendolyn. I will stop by soon to check out your post about it, and can’t wait to see what you post in the future about the effects of social media on eating disorders. Thanks for your insight. Take care, and keep blogging and photographing!

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  2. mommamindy says:

    Yes, we are the most photographed, filmed and youtubed generation. It will be interesting to see the long term effects of this.

    I always try to tilt my chin a tish so my little double chin doesn’t show, then I raise my eyebrows a little to lesson the wrinkles. Last time I tried this I ended up looking like I got stabbed in the back. Think I’ll just go natural next time!

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    1. Mindy, you are so funny! I just remember to stand at an angle and never straight forward. You’re right, it will be interesting to see the long term effects. I’ve already heard of one person who was encouraged to work out and take better care of herself. But I imagine a lot of people are over-obsessing (I know that’s not a word, but it makes sense).

      Like

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