How Social Media Affected My Body Image


"Am I too big?" I sent that message to my sister after scrolling through Instagram. My sister responded with comforting words. She said, "You are not big. You are full of extra love." I thanked my sister for her kind words, but I still felt sad about my size. Unfortunately, I know I am not alone in how I think of myself.

As young women are scrolling their timelines, they are constantly comparing themselves to other women on their feeds. High school and college-aged girls often compare their looks to celebrities or even their peer group. This comparison can lead young women to feel as if their physical bodies are unacceptable to society.

Social media often promotes the idea that thinner bodies are the standard of beauty, and it is not fair. Online platforms making one body type the "blueprint" can cause many young women to consider surgery. A study published in Current Psychology found that women from 18-29 were considering surgery due to social media imagery. 

I went through a period of disliking my body. Once I found ways to like my curves, I felt a lot better. The Internet promotes a particular body standard, but I know better than to compare myself to other women online. Now, I fully appreciate that women come in all shapes and sizes, and we're all beautiful the way we are. Ahead, I've outlined five practices that have helped me appreciate my body and stop any negative self-talk about my size.

1. Unfollow Pages That Cause You to Feel Bad

To help you stop comparing yourself to other body types, take some time to reevaluate who you follow. Unfollow pages that cause you to feel bad about your body. Instead, follow accounts that promote body positivity and self-love like @thebodypositive.

2. Work With a Therapist

Learning to let go of negative thoughts about your body is a process. Enlist help from a professional so you will not have to rewire your thoughts alone. A professional can provide you with structured conversations, activities, and print-outs to help you change your thoughts.

3. Affirm Your Body

Look in the mirror and recite affirmations. My favorite one to say is, "I am wonderfully made." Recite affirmations in the morning and right before bed.

4. Move Your Body

Dance, exercise, spin around in circles. It doesn't matter what you do– just move! As you move your body, you will be amazed at what your body can do. Movement can also make you feel beautiful.

5. Dress in Clothing That Makes You Feel Joyful

When you look good, you feel good. That is the motto I live by. Go to different clothing stores and see what you like. Putting on a cute outfit every day can help boost your mood and confidence.
As a young woman, I know how it feels to be pressured by social media. I had to develop will power and work on my self-identity, so the Internet would not easily influence me.

What are other ways to promote body positivity? Let us know by leaving a comment below!


Zakiya Payne is a Multimedia Journalism major at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. The first-generation student enjoys writing in her journal, telling corny jokes, and shopping! A Mantra that she repeats daily is, “I am busy becoming the woman of my dreams!”