Feb 5, 2011

Will increasing use of social media guide us for healthier self-image?

This Ted talk about Social media and the end of gender got me thinking more widely about social medias affect on desired body-image. Increasing use of social media might help us to move slowly from admiring of always perfectly looking, well shaped and well trained body image to healthier view of a person.

Time spent on internet and social media is increasing and cutting time from old TV and magazine media. This old media is doing everything they can to make people look perfect. Meaning that people wouldn't have any flaws. Models in these picture and videos have perfect skin, hair, body and they are always dressed to coolest clothes. On the other hand social media also reveals true persons. Most of people have photos of themselves visible somewhere in the web. At least in their profile pictures, but increasingly in videos and pictures of real life situations.

People do want to look good and cool in pictures and videos, but most of the pictures and videos in social media are not photo-shopped and taken by professionals. Those photos reveal the real people. I think this will slowly turn the heads of all to realize that everyone has flaws and don't always look perfect.

Media houses and admiring the models and actors in TV, movies and magazines will not suddenly disappear. Social media is lot about sharing and big part of content shared is still produced professionally. Fan culture will always be there and there will always professional models and photographers. Maybe media will still start to turn for more to realistic and amateurish looks with models and content just because of those which are done by amateurs are getting more and more popular. Already now, in some cases it's hard to tell from some of the videos or photos that are those made professionally to look like an amateur or are those really amateur ones.

Even though problems accepting your self-image are often considered as problems of young and teenagers, I believe that most of people have some problems with it. Think about constant diet, gym and other seasons, when there's lot of people trying to do some good about themselves. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but the driver for healthier body, shouldn't come from outer pressure, but from internal drive to feel better. That's the only way to make it last.

Maybe it's just me dreaming, because of two small daughters at home. But I genuinely hope that my daughters would live in a world where not only the slimmest and model looking people would get admired.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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