Health Fitness

Not surprising, but Instagram is more damaging for body image than billboards

Confirmed in a new study.

By Jessica Chandra
Bella Hadid Celeste Barber

Most of us can relate to the feeling of scrolling through Instagram, perhaps going on a few deep dives, and then throwing our phones at the walls because we feel shit about ourselves.

OK, maybe every Instagram scroll doesn’t end that dramatically, but it’s common knowledge that social media has the ability to make us feel worse about ourselves because everyone else seems to be having a better life.

A recent study conducted by The Conversation confirms that young women in particular feel worse about their bodies, and find themselves less attractive, after seeing the seemingly beautiful lives of ‘real girls’ on Instagram.

The Conversation was driven to do the research after previous surveys only asked young women to compare themselves to traditional media, like billboards, magazine ads and the people they see on TV. The prevalence of social media means users are highly connected and more exposed to others on social media platforms.

After asking 150 female undergraduate students to answer online surveys five times a day for five days that rated their feelings after being on social media, the study concluded that the young women “mostly thought others look better than them on social media.” Also, “women reported being in the worst mood after social media comparisons relative to other comparisons.”

As for potential ways to combat these feelings, The Conversation advises going on social media detoxes, unfollowing accounts that make them feel bad about themselves, or following accounts that “deconstruct these images, like comedian Celeste Barber, or post realistic everyday images.”

And remember: we only post our highlight reels on social media. The more we keep that in mind, the better we’ll hopefully feel.