How Facebook Fuels Negative Body Image and What We Can Do About It

If you've compared yourself to one too many frenemies on Facebook lately, here's why you're doing it and how we can all get more body-positive.
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Worst of all, the vast majority of us don’t even realize we’re contributing to body-hate. “Most of the time comments are really not meant to be mean or hurtful,” Crawford said. “In fact, a lot of people may think they’re being positive or polite when commenting on someone’s weight loss or congratulating someone for joining a new diet program. Additionally, when someone comments negatively about their own body on Facebook, they may not realize that it also sends a general message about their views or stereotypes regarding weight and beauty to all of their Facebook friends as well.”

Nevertheless, there are steps we can all take to keep the body talk positive—and no, it doesn’t involve clicking through your best friend’s spring break photos and sulking over how you still haven’t shed those last few holiday pounds.

Read Racism and The Hunger Games: Why Ignorance Won’t Prevail

“Flood your page with positivity by following some positive body image organizations that are active on Facebook,” Crawford advised. “Try only posting about or commenting on friends’ life events, hobbies, interests, and successes instead of zeroing in on how they look or what they weigh. Consider unfriending or ‘hiding’ comments from people who make derogatory comments based on people’s weight or appearance. If you find yourself unable to escape feelings of jealousy, sadness or comparison while online, consider taking a break from Facebook and log off. Use the time that you would spend on Facebook to acquire a new hobby, connect with body-positive friends, or engage in other activities that honor your body in a positive way. If you find yourself engaging in disordered eating or dangerous behaviors seek professional help right away.”

If you need a little guidance on keeping it positive (who doesn’t?), there are a few organizations you can subscribe to right now to help out:

Proud2BemeUS

The Illusionists

Adios Barbie

End Fat Talk

The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt

The road to body happiness might be slow and arduous, but it starts with thinking before you post. Because you don’t need a Timeline to tell you that you’re beautiful, girl!


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