What really came to my mind after reading the blog post “Warning: This is Not Real Life” ?
This past blog post discusses the edited pictures of models and actresses found in magazines and the effects it has on women in our country today, specifically negative body image, low self-esteem, and eating disorders. When we pass these magazine stands and look at beatiful women such as Blake Lively and Sophia Vergara staring at us with flawless skin, long legs, perfectly tan bodies, and a six pack we immediately compare ourselves to them. We wonder what excerices we have to do, what food we have to eat or what clothes we have to buy to become like them. What most readers seem to forget though, is these magazines have teams of editors using special filters and programs to make these women look flawless. While many women seen on magazines are beautiful, they have flaws that are covered up after hours of editing.
While I do completely agree that magazines produce false images that can construe the way we view ourselves, I have found that the real area we need to improve is Facebook. “Now it’s not the case that the only place you’re seeing thin and idealized images of women in bathing suits is on magazine covers,” said researcher and psychology professor Pamela K. Keel, PhD. “Now your friends are posting carefully curated photos of themselves on their Facebook page that you’re being exposed to constantly. It represents a very unique merging of two things that we already knew could increase risk for eating disorders.”
Realistically, magazine editors are just doing their job: place pretty people on your cover and people will buy it. Its that simple. However, Facebook has become a picture editing, low self- esteem enhancing jungle that is voluntarily shared by “real people”. Studies have shown that spending only 20 minutes on Facebook can increase the risk of being self-conscious, can cause anxiety, and increase a woman’s concern of their image. I am not sure what the exact answer is to preventing the potentially very toxic enviornement that Facebook can have on body image and eating disorders, but I think it should start with the awareness that pictures (even of your friends) can be very deceiving. Facebook can cause competition and even more so when you are searching people who are not famous. Applications today allow for anyone to quickly edit a photo and then link it Facebook for all friends to see. We keep blaming magazine editors for placing false pictures when this same concept is happening at home behind our own computers.