Social media negatively affects body image, say a third of Brits


A study of 2,000 adults found that one third agree social media has negatively affected their body image.

Social media has even altered the way women perceive their figures, with one in eight women refusing to EVER post a candid photo.

While more than a quarter admit they can’t help but compare themselves to celebrities and so spend time editing their photos to remove spots and wrinkles before posting a photo online.

In response to the findings, Really TV channel has launched a series of images to show what iconic stars of yesteryear would have looked like – if their fame had peaked in the age of social media.

Famous faces including Marilyn Monroe, Joan Collins and Kate Moss were re-imagined adorned with puppy-dog ears, comedy specs and love hearts.

Even Tom Cruise has had the treatment, with an image showing the Top Gun star with then-partner Nicole Kidman filtered to include halos and angel wings.

The images and research were commissioned by Really to launch the new series of How to Look Good Naked, hosted by super stylist Gok Wan.

He said: “Allowing people to edit their pictures on social media with the tap of a screen has led to a beauty ideal that isn’t realistic or achievable.

“It allows people to opt for instant gratification, rather than to work on themselves and actually address the root cause of why they feel a certain way about themselves.

“It might be fun to add a novelty filter or ‘beautify’ our favourite snaps – and most of us use them to some extent – but we should be mindful that these aren’t real images, and we certainly shouldn’t aspire to look like these doctored images.

“As we have seen, over-editing makes everyone look the same.

“Instead of sharing posts that celebrate our individuality, we’ve fallen into the ‘social media’ trap of trying to emulate an ideal that isn’t attainable.

“There’s nothing more beautiful or empowering than authenticity; people who stand up and say, ‘this is what real people look like!’ – We should embrace that idea.”

The study also found 28 per cent edit their pictures in a bid to look as good as possible, while a further fifth do so to fit in with social media norms, knowing most people will re-touch an image before sharing it.

More than one in 10 admit to using editing as an opportunity to remove any perceived flaws, while 18 per cent strive to present their ‘best self’ online.

Millions of Brits will also only share posed pictures, with 22 per cent estimating that as little as five per cent of their posts are candid.

In the quest for the best selfie, a third will experiment with angles until finding the one that flatters them best, and 28 per cent will do the same with lighting.

More than a tenth will even time their selfie-taking session to coincide with ‘golden hour’, the time shortly after sunrise or before sunset, where daylight is at its softest and therefore is perceived by some as the most flattering.

The average social media user will spend 20 minutes snapping away before selecting their favourite image to edit and post, with more than two fifths only sharing a picture when they deem it ‘social media ready’.

Looking at other people’s social media accounts can also lead to insecurities about body image – with one in seven feeling jealous of the way others look, and 14 per cent feeling they don’t measure up to the ‘perfect body’.

30 per cent of those polled have considered a cosmetic procedure – including lip fillers, liposuction or a nose job – after preferring the way they looked post-edit to the way the look in real life.

Gok Wan, for How to Look Good Naked, a show which aims to tackle people’s low self-esteem and guide them to a place of loving themselves, flaws and all, added: “A body confidence crisis is crippling the nation.

“We want to take focus away from the so-called ‘perfect’ body, and help people reap the rewards of being comfortable in their own skin.”




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A southern girl living in the North, obsessed with all things true crime and any reading material I can get my hands on. Serial tea drinker, and I also hate geese.
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