The article “Facebook: The encyclopedia of beauty?” reminded me of another article published in USA Today last June that begins by bringing up the point of a woman with a history of an eating disorder who refuses to have an Instagram or Facebook account. The woman claims that the will to live is far greater than the allure of social media.
We have arrived upon a point in time at which we all must seriously consider the pros and cons of living life healthily over the pros and cons of having a social media presence. This fact alone is disconcerting, but when coupled with the fact that there are children–young enough to not know how to properly weigh these pros and cons–it becomes dangerous.
Image driven social media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and especially blogs forums like tumblr, are normal enough now-a-days that most adults, young adults, and teens don’t give them second thoughts. There are those though, that fall into the vapid reality misconstruing conceptions of beauty definitions. The number of members of society falling into these pits of despair and harm is increasing in a staggering amount.
These platforms of media give the idea that those suffering through the pains of eating disorders are not alone–building a support community for promoting self-harm. This is not a girls only problem, either. The media may focus more on women’s bodies, but men are also becoming part of this.
Perhaps the most alarming part of this trend though, lies in the fact that as forms of media, as well as the different screens on which to access it with, are becoming more and more popular and commonplace, the sufferers of these body image and beauty image ‘scams’ are younger and younger. Children are picking up eating disorders at young ages, and are incredibly susceptible to the pressures of society as youths.
Perhaps the most regrettable part of this negative side to these social sites is that there could be so much positivity and so much support shared throughout that the waste of opportunity to do so is deplorable. Not only must we make this positivity more popular, we must make it the forefront, the only front, of these platforms if we wish to protect society.