By: Megan Nichols
SILVER SPRING, Md.– Body positivity is building confidence in young adults, but social media influencers are sending mixed messages.
Many people are familiar with Orwell’s 1984 and the principles of doublethink.
According to Psychology Today, doublethink is the theory of “unconscious acceptance… of conflicting facts,” usually in particular social contexts.
The idea that a human can believe two completely contradictory facts at the same time, without even being aware that it’s happening, can make no sense unless you have an example to apply it to.
Actor and Influencer @inanna frequently posts about her journey and captioned the post with a, “comment for this new lock screen photo!!”
After seeing influencers on social media who advocate for being who you are, naturally, teenagers have begun to follow that path.
To most people, the idea of just loving yourself is encouraging and it helps teenagers figure out who they are. However, if you look more closely, you can see how this movement is harming young people.
For starters, the people that are leading this movement– a movement that’s based on not conforming to beauty standards– are people who meet the beauty standards.
If you scroll across popular figures’ pages, you’ll see fit people talking about their insecurities and struggles, which isn’t bad but leaves younger people with the question , “why can’t I look like that?”
On Instagram, it’s almost impossible to not run into a post of someone’s body journey, documenting how they’ve gone from an average-sized body, to even skinnier.
After her lipo surgery, beauty guru Emily Susanah talks about her weight loss journey and often shares the steps she goes through to continue losing weight.
Instagram user @emilysusanah uploaded a video on “What I Eat To Lose Weight.”
“It’s not that these people don’t deserve to love themselves, we all do,” said high school sophomore Annie. “I just feel like all the women who are not thin and attractive, now have an unrealistic standard of what body positivity means.”
It’s a tricky subject because everyone knows that these people are just trying to spread self-love, but when they say, “I did this because I love myself and everyone deserves a chance to love themselves, here is my workout routine,” it’s completely contradicting.
Now teens are inspired to go to the gym, eat less and become more healthy, then they go to look in the mirror and expect to see a beautiful and thin influencer they idolize.
“I just wish there was a way for everyone to love their bodies without having this double standard, but it’s pretty hard in today’s world,” Annie says.“I see all these people in MoCo my age, posting about how they’re inspired to workout and change themselves ‘for themselves’ but they’re doing it to look like someone else. And they don’t even realize it.”
It’s important to acknowledge that people want to accept themselves and the point of accepting something is not wanting to change it.
However, teenagers are still inspired to make changes to themselves, and they start to feel happier about who they are but in the back of their minds, there is always an image of that skinnier person. That is the balance that teens are forced to find and often cannot.
In a way, it’s very confusing because there are multiple teenagers who see these influencers and truly are inspired.
“Body Positivity has the potential to be really radical,” said Suzan Weiss from Everyday Feminism. “We need to stop documenting our habits as if we’ll love our bodies more once we lose weight, we need to acknowledge that all the self-love we can feel is available to us right now.”