Are the problems we thought we were facing with Social Media slowly reversing?

-What’s the main problem social media causes?

-It pushes unrealistic body types.

-Makes people feel bad for how they look.

-Is exclusive to people who fit a stereotypical view of attractiveness.

These are certainly all things that need to be changed and luckily they seem to get a positive response from people who want to change this. However, whilst we are fighting so hard to stop this body image pressure, there is a chance that perhaps we are just flipping the view.

Once upon a time a few years ago, social media slowly but surely filled with pictures of size 6 models. Soon the world was split into three: those who thought that’s a nice photo of a nice looking person; those who thought it was horrendous they would try and make girls think that was how they should look; and those who couldn’t care less.

The problem with that second group of people, who no doubt mean well and want to protect the ever-growing number of teenage girls suffering under societal pressure, is that they aren’t really considering what went through the poster’s mind before that photo went up. You see those who said “How dare she try and flounce her tiny waist to make others feel bad” seem to assume that the poster meant to send out this message, when in reality, just like anyone else they probably thought, “That’s a nice photo” and decided to share it.

Because of this reaction to these photos, contrary to what everyone seems to assume, it quickly becomes the poster of that photo who is the recipient of online abuse. Influencers get constant streams of hate comments accusing them of photoshopping, distorting body image, being too ‘thin’, and many abuse accounts are set up targeting individuals online.

In recent years, people with ‘more realistic’ body types have started to confidently post photos of themselves stating they are happy with their body types and aren’t going to let people change the way they feel about themselves. Result! Or is it?

Whilst it is great that people are accepting themselves and their bodies, most of the world has an obesity problem, so although it is never good to be underweight - in fact it can be very dangerous –, what is wrong with slim? What has happened to the word ‘slim’? Everyone now is ‘normal’, ‘fat’ or ‘thin’, none of which are nice words.

In the past being plumper was not a negative thing, in fact, it was often considered particularly attractive since as with most attractive aspects, it was a sign of wealth and power; it meant you could afford lots of food, had servants for physical work, were fertile and later on was a sign of a motor car. Right up until the turn of the 20th century a bigger woman was a beautiful one.

Overall, it’s great to celebrate diversity because it’s true nobody is perfect, and it’s true nobody is the same. But should we really be celebrating unhealthy weights at either end of the spectrum? It’s amazing to be comfortable with who we are and to want to share photos with the world, but always put health first.