There are 1.3billion Facebook Users in the world. Let me ask you something, how often do you access Facebook? On average, how long do you spend your time on Facebook everyday? Young women in their teens and early 20s spend around two hours on Facebook every day. Personally, whenever I get a minute of free time, I am on Facebook. Wherever I am at ‘waiting’, I’ll be on Facebook scrolling down my NewsFeed. This can be me waiting for the bus or waiting for the bus to reach my destination. Yep, on Facebook. These mindless use never really made me wonder how I’ve been affected until I started writing this blog.
To start off, the most basic thing you need set up for your Facebook account is your profile picture. Lets be honest, we pick the best photo we have of ourselves as our profile picture. We have already heard of Tinder profile pictures that look nothing like they do in real life. So how is this any more different on Facebook? We put the best of ourselves on Facebook, be it our profile picture or photos and posts that we upload on a daily basis. We know that social media life is different from what it actually is but we still compare ourselves to our friends and family.
Traditional forms of media such as magazines already have a reputation of affecting how women sees their body. Does Facebook have the same effect? Well, not exactly. You see, body image doesn’t just include body weight. It also includes how one sees the way their hair looks, how clear their skin is, etc. And that is how Facebook is. You do not really see full body photos on Facebook as often as you see selfies of your friends. Hey, they didn’t invent selfie sticks so you don’t post your photos on Facebook.
According to the Washington Post, spending time on Facebook increases some young women’s concerns about their face, hair and skin, it doesn’t necessarily affect how they feel about their body. This is because with an approximate of 10 million photos being uploaded every hour, most of it are photos of people’s faces. If you don’t have a body to compare with yours, use the face instead (This is a joke. Don’t compare. You’re beautiful). In an experiment conducted by Washington Post, 112 women were asked to rate their level of body dissatisfaction and the 3 things they would change about themselves after looking at their Facebook Newsfeed for 10 minutes or looking at a neutral-based Facebook Newsfeed. It was found that women who looked at their own newsfeed are more inclined to have a desire to change their facial features, , skin and hair in comparison to women who looked at the neutral based newsfeed. In fact, there were little to no significant impact on the way they see their body. In addition, the longer we spend time online on Facebook, we are more inclined to self-objectification.
Body-shaming has also started to trend on Facebook. More recently, there has meme that has surfaced where people tag a friend with a certain name to meet up with a so-called “ugly” person. These people in the memes were categorised as “fat”, “ugly”, etc.
View this post on Instagram
I've seen a ton of memes like this all over @facebook recently. I'm writing this post not as someone who is a victim but as someone who is using their voice. Yes, it's very late at night as I type this but I do so as a reminder that the innocent people that are being put in these memes are probably up just as late scrolling through Facebook and feeling something that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. No matter what we look like or what size we are, at the end of the day we are all human. I ask that you keep that in mind the next time you see a viral meme of a random stranger. At the time you might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite. Spread love not hurtful words via a screen. Xoxo Lizzie
These memes can be categorised as bullying but how does this actually set the standard of how we see “beauty”? Just because someone weighs a little more does not mean that they are not beautiful, but it does impose a mindset that these people are different, therefore they are entitled to ridicule.
Facebook has set an unrealistic beauty standard in society. We compare ourselves to photos on Facebook when we know it’s not real. We want to have clear skin with silky hair “like that Lizzie girl from middle school”. You have not seen Lizzie for years and truth be told, she probably used one of those beauty apps to make her look attractive. Don’t let this set the standard of what’s beautiful. And more importantly, don’t bully someone on Facebook, directly or indirectly through a meme, because social media told you that that is not attractive. We are all beautiful whether we are skinny, fat, chubby, acne-proned, or just average.