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May 16, 2021
Social media apps such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok are at the heart of many teenagers’ recently developed eating disorders. Opening the social media platforms often draws users to posts and pictures of people they would ideally want to be or look like.
Apps like Instagram do not seem to be as casual as they used to be. Using and keeping up with social media can often feel more like a laborious job than a pastime.
“Social media, especially Instagram, absolutely worsens my body image. Just scrolling through and seeing so many beautiful girls get hate makes me wonder what others would say about me since I feel like the girls that get hate look way better than I do,” sophomore Katie Bridwell said.
There are even social media influencers whose jobs are to strictly influence their viewers on products they should buy, images they should try to strive to look like, foods they should eat, and, in general, ways they should live their lives. It is mentally draining when one feels the need to live up to the expectations of people around them. Instead of posting pictures for the fun of it and to please themselves, today’s society has created the need to post things in hopes of the satisfaction of others.
Thinspiration, or “thinspo”, can be found in websites, blogs or social media posts. Pro-anorexia websites have become increasingly widespread in recent years. These websites are called “pro-ana,” short for “pro-anorexia,” because of the unhealthy lifestyles they promote. WebMd describes these websites as “shocking and troubling.” Thinspo websites promote bulimia, anorexia and other eating disorders that can cause people to become dangerously underweight. Pictures and videos are shared of diets and exercises to “help” people achieve a thin physique.
Many thinspo posts have made their way to TikTok and Twitter. On TikTok, weight loss and pro-anorexia videos could be potentially harmful to vulnerable users who get a thinspo video on their “For You” page.
On Twitter, thinspo posts float around that are meant to bully the readers into becoming skinny. People use aggressive and rude tones in these posts and shame others into changing their lifestyle to become skinny.
“Throughout TikTok you’ll see girls posting in bikinis, and if they don’t fit the beauty standards, their comment section is filled with hate,” Bridwell said.