Body image pressure rises in the summer

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Social media engulfs teens with unrealistic standards for their bodies and leaves them expecting what society calls a “summer body.”

Emily Toro

As summer nears, teens begin swiping through social media feeds to find photoshopped models in custom-fit bathing suits. 

Social media engulfs teens with unrealistic standards for their bodies and leaves them expecting  what society calls a “summer body.” 

Senior Amanda DiBenedetto of Ocean responds to the pressure these teens experience. 

“It’s hard for people to understand that what people post on Instagram isn’t always the truth, DiBenedetto said. “There’s Photoshop, Facetune, and a ton of other apps people use to look like the best versions of themselves . . . the standard most kids live up to is pretty much impossible.” 

Junior Julia Rocco of Marlboro agrees with DiBenedetto and adds that people must reject these stereotypes people attempt to compare themselves with. 

“Every body is a good body,” Rocco said. “I think that by being confident and rejecting the standards that the older generation lived under, we can make a true and lasting impact.” 

During the summertime, this healthy mindset should not only be encouraged in young girls, but also in boys. Katharine Phillips is the director of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Program at Rhode Island Hospital; according to her, unrealistic body expectations for men are not deemed as detrimental as those of females by society, despite being equally as unhealthy.  Social media, she says, makes it worse.

Junior Liam Jamolod of Howell said that he has seen a connection between negative body image and social media use, and that exposure to Instagram models and fitness profiles can have positive and negative effects. 

“Seeing it can make people get inspired to work for a better image, or leave them with a feeling of disappointment in themselves if they don’t have that body,” Jamolod said. 

However, people are making efforts to reject the expectations of the “beach body” the media creates. 

“Big brands are even doing more about body positivity,” DiBenedetto said. “Aerie stopped retouching their models years ago and now have size inclusive and non-traditional models. It’s really cool to see how much we have been able to move forward so much within a short amount of time.”