It doesn't take a sucker to work out that social media culture has got a lot to answer for when it comes to body image, body dissatisfaction rates, and the way that we feel about ourselves.
A study was published in February of this year, but is gaining extreme traction at the moment with regards to Instagram and it's direct impact on its female users. The research paper, Instagram use and young women’s body image concerns and self-objectification: Testing mediational pathways, studied 276 American and Australian women, all of whom were account holders and regular users of the social media platform.
Each of the women were asked questions about their body image and their Instagram use, and the research concluded that just 30 minutes - the average daily user time - of engaging with the application can destroy the way that we view our bodies. Using Instagram linked to self-objectification, which according to the study, can directly lead to depression and disordered eating. The research also honed in on popular social media category and hashtag fitspiration (fitness inspiration, otherwise known as fitspo), condemning it for its links to higher levels of body dissatisfaction and a greater determination to strive for thinness.
Having said that, Instagram isn't entirely to blame and is just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle that has left society riddled with unattainable beauty standards, pressure and disappointment. So before you go suspending your Instagram accounts, think about who you're following and what content you're engaging with (both consciously and subconsciously) every time you launch the app. Diversifying your feed - that means following more than the Kardashians and fitness accounts - can be the simple answer that makes all the difference to the way that you feel after scrolling through your feeds.
A good start, if you haven't already, is by finding new accounts that will inspire, motivate and take away some of the pressure to look perfect according to society's standards. We would be here all day if we sat and listed all of the incredible accounts out there, but here are some pretty great handles to head over to, just to get you going:
Editor-in-chief / dog mum / part-time Disney princess