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The Harmful Effects of Influencers on Teenagers
We all know that celebrities are influential, but just how much? Celebrities have a big influence on young teenagers and have the power to change their perspective on how they envision society and how teens view themselves.
The Today Show and aol.com conducted a survey on the “Ideal to Real” body image. As a result, the survey found that 80 percent of teen girls compare themselves to images they see of celebrities. Among those girls, almost half said that celebrity images make them feel dissatisfied with the way they look. The influence they have over us can even affect our mentality and habits drastically, yet we do not realise it.
Most of Gen Z aspire to look like celebrities and models and want to be like them. Teens are constantly scrolling through their social media feeds and often come across unrealistic, airbrushed photos of influencers and celebrities The figures, revealed to coincide with the body image theme of national Mental Health Awareness Week, follow a YouGov poll of 4,505 UK adults. It found that 57% of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed admit to having felt anxious because of their body image, compared with 30% of 45- to 54-year-olds and 20% of over 55s. Some 10% of women have deliberately hurt themselves because of their body image compared with 4% of men. At the same time, 13% of adults admit to having experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of their body image.
Looking at these images triggers a part of our brains, a study has shown that By analysing brain scans, the neuroscientists, from University College London, found that when the volunteers viewed retouched images, the response of the amygdala – the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions – was triggered in a way that signifies trauma. In other words, we instantly start to compare ourselves and retrain our mind into thinking that we should look like these so called ‘perfect celebrities’.
When getting dressed in the morning, I usually look in the mirror and look myself up and down. My mind brings up all sorts of these unpleasant feelings about my body image. My mind becomes crowded with all these thoughts and insecure feelings about myself and I obtain acts of self-harm, I sometimes starve myself or eat as little as possible just to lose a couple of pounds. Even though I know I am hurting myself I still continue to self-harm and It has become my addiction. But this is just my example of how I get influenced by these re-touched images of celebrities.
As a result, we judge our body and appearances to these unrealistic images and perpetrate detrimental acts of self-harm, these include, trying range harmful diets, starving ourselves, undergoing cosmetic surgery and many other inimical measures.
In 2018 a 20-year-old Brisbane YouTuber, Lily Brown, broadcasted that her insecurities led her to get an overkill of cosmetic surgery in one day including, lip filler, cheek filler, eyebrow lift, and Botox in her forehead.
This all leads back to these influencers and their airbrushed pictures; they result in teenagers harming themselves and leaving them with thoughts of destruction.
If influencers were to post their natural bodies instead of photoshopped and edited photos of themselves, teenagers would finally be able to feel comfortable in their own bodies, wouldn’t have as many insecurities and will stop comparing themselves to other people who have just photoshopped their stretch marks, pimples and other blemishes out of the picture to make them seem flawless. Well-known celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, and Madison Beer, are some examples of celebrities who photoshop their photos and post them online.
By posting your natural body and imperfect, teenagers Self-confidence, self-respect, and self-love will drastically increase as well as our mental-health, moreover teens will stop harming themselves both physically and mentally and come to a realisation that we all are not perfect. Some celebrities have challenged the beauty standards by sharing their imperfections. Ashley Graham, Lizzo, Tess Holiday, and Winnie Harlow are some examples of celebrities who have embraced their natural bodies along with teaching people that it is ok to look different and that one should not feel the pressure of achieving the ridiculous societal beauty standards.
All in all we can see how social media and celebrity influencers who photoshop their images can be crucial to a teenagers mental health, as you read from my article we can conclude that teenagers insecurities and self-esteem can heavily affect their mental health because of the way celebrities portray themselves on social media.