The toxicity behind Instagram posts

I open up Instagram feeling happy and confident about myself and my body, but close the app feeling empty and my self-esteem out the window. As I scroll through Instagram, all I see is post after post of what society deems as “beautiful women”; slender body, small waist, big butt, long legs, clear skin, and silky hair.

On September 14, 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was well aware of the detrimental effects that Instagram had on teenage girls. For the last three years, Facebook has administered studies to see how photo-sharing affects young users. Unfortunately, the results repeatedly show that Instagram is damaging to teenage girls’ body image.

“It’s good and bad. It’s good to reach out and get inspiration but also really toxic. When you go on Instagram you always see what other people are doing and you want to live up to their lives almost,” Myah Groth, a senior at North Penn High School, said.

Apps like Instagram make girls feel like they have to live up to the standards of social media. Teenage girls often feel they can’t be themselves because people won’t like them for who they truly are.

“Every girl I have talked to has photoshopped at least one of their pictures. [They] at least blur out their face or imperfections, stretch marks, slimmed their waist, made their butt look bigger, and stuff like that. I edited my pictures sometimes when I had acne. I would blur my acne out because nobody else had acne, and I didn’t want people to know that. Everybody who is our age is comparing themselves to the body image of models, so we are all basically comparing ourselves to each other. Everyone wants to look like models,” Groth stated.

Social media creates an image that teenagers feel obligated to look like. For so many girls, the feeling that they have to change what they look like for people to like their posts is ever-present. If more models posted real and raw images of themselves it would encourage more people to do the same. Along with that, I think that more advertisements should include all-sized women. Although many stores are starting to have all-sized models, like Aerie, there are still many that only have models that all look exactly the same: slim and small.

Although social media can be used in a very positive way and for good things, it is important to remember that most photos you see on Instagram and other platforms are not real. So much of what is put onto the internet is somehow altered to make it look better than its original form.