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Karen Garcia

Professor Jennifer Rodrick

English 115

September 26, 2018

The Illusion of Instagram

Do you ever wonder why people become develop Anorexia? Did you ever think it could

all start because of social media? Instagram is a very popular app among people of all ages,

where people can share content with their friends and followers. It is a method of keeping in

touch with people that you haven't seen in a while to see how and what they are doing with their

lives now. WIth Instagram comes a variety of gorgeous models and celebrities that people look

up to and look forward to seeing on their feed. The problem with Instagram is that you have to be

at least thirteen years old to create an account. This means that any teenage girl or boy can create

an account without asking for their parent’s permission. All they need is an email, username, and

password. What parents don’t know is that their kids have access to anything on this app. From

watching videos of cute babies to looking at the dark side of Instagram. The Skinny, Attractive

Community of Insta. Instagram has a very influential presence that parents should be aware of,

as the effects can be devastating for a young person unaware of its dangers.

The #Thinspiration has been a controversial tag on Instagram. Thinspiration is a thread of

pictures of tremendously skinny bodies that are supposed to “inspire” people so they can start

obsessing over their weights and become like these people. The hashtag has been a part of the

Instagram anorexia community and it became a big deal when Instagram banned the tag. “Just as
others find people with similar interests using the media, individuals with eating disorders are

able to find like-minded people using the social networks as well.”(Harris). People with

Anorexia have their own communities in which they feel comfortable in and Social Media is a

place where we connect with people so people with Anorexia should have the same opportunities

online that everyone else does.

Young individuals that have access to social media have seen these beautiful, ‘flawless’

celebrities, as they are scrolling through their feed, that they look up to because of the attractive

way their appearance looks or the way they sing or act. When they see these celebrities they

think that they have to look just like them to be flawless and attractive. These kids are eating less

and starving themselves so they could become like the celebrities they look up to. This is causing

them to harm their well being and the ability to have a healthy lifestyle. They begin developing

eating disorders like Anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder that is caused by the obsessive idea

of losing weight and it could turn into a life-threatening situation. Some people live their lives

without realizing that they are suffering from Anorexia. They just continue thinking that they are

still not skinny or pretty enough and continue the process of starving themselves because they

think it's the right way to lose weight.

This problem has affected mostly young women but it has also affected men. Men could

also have insecurities about their bodies. Instead of wanting to be skinny, Men want to be fit like

their favorite sports players or superheroes. What men don’t realize is that celebrities aren’t born

with muscles. They have to work out to look strong and buff. “...paragons of masculinity such as

American all-action hero GI Joe and Jedi master Luke Skywalker have felt the pressure to shape

up too.”(Bailey). If someone asks a girl what her ideal man looks like they usually go for the
muscular, good-looking dudes. This is what makes any other normal boy feel insecure and if

they are slightly chubby they can find Anorexia as a faster, easier way to lose the excessive

weight like girls.

Because of this problem, a numerous amount of people have been consumed by anorexia.

They’ve taken the faster route but the most dangerous one. The lack of nutrients can make them

severely ill and can sometimes lead them to their tombstone. According to the Eating Disorders

Catalogue, “Starving causes an energy crisis, in response to which the body literally slows down

to conserve what little energy it has left in order to perform the basic functions required to

sustain life.” This means that an anorexics heart, lungs, and other parts of their body are getting

slower by the minute depending on how much energy they have left inside.

There’s not an exact solution to this problem because parents can’t control everything their kids

see online. These young individuals still deserve to have the freedom they have online. Just like

there’s a negative side to social media, there’s also a good side. People can make friends online

who have similar taste in music, movies, video games, etc. or people who could give them good

advice and lead them in the right direction. If you see someone become thinner and thinner by

the minute, a health professional can help provide the guidance and nutrients to get them in a

stabilized healthy shape. Not only is Anorexia a physical illness but it is also a mental illness.

Instead of confronting anorexics rudely, one must do it gently and with compassion. A person

with Anorexia doesn’t need someone to complain about the things they are doing, they just need

someone that is willing to give them time and support. If someone comes threatening the person

to start eating more, it will only make the person feel worse.

When someone posts a picture of themselves looking cute and “perfect”, teens shouldn’t

be worried about that. They should learn that its okay to be different even if it takes a while to
learn. I’ve had my own experience with this and I honestly think that instead of society trying to

force people to look a certain way upon they should be focused on showing off all types of

bodies. Stretch Marks or No Stretch Marks. Yes, it’s their body and their choice it’s not a good

decision to change your body just look a certain way. Everyone was made different for a reason.

If we all looked the same, it would be like talking to multiple replicas of yourself and the world

would be a dull place. It’s sad to see teens feel the need to develop unhealthy habits just so they

could look like someone else when who they are and the body they have is extremely fine.

Work Cited

Bailey, Mark. "ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH?" Men's Fitness, no. 175, 02, 2015, pp. 76-81.

ProQuest. Accessed 24 September 2018


Gajanan, Mahita. “Young Women on Instagram and Self-Esteem: 'I Absolutely Feel Insecure'.”

The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Nov. 2015,

www.theguardian.com/media/2015/nov/04/instagram-young-women-self-esteem-essena-oneill.

Accessed 24 September 2018

Harris, Nadia-Elysse. “Thinspiration On Instagram: Pro-Anorexia Community Persists, Finds

New Ways To Spread Social Media Message [PHOTOS].” Medical Daily, 29 Aug.

2013,www.medicaldaily.com/thinspiration-instagram-pro-anorexia-community-persists-finds-

new-ways-spread-social-media-message. Accessed 25 September 2018

“I became Anorexic for Instagram” YouTube, uploaded by MinuteVideos,7 Feb. 2018,

youtu.be/F5zSw1ExmwA. Accessed September 24 September 2018.

Livingstone S, Haddon L, Görzig A, Ólafsson K. Risks and Safety on the Internet: The

Perspective of European Children: Full Findings and Policy Implications From the EU Kids

Online Survey of 9–16 Year Olds and Their Parents in 25 Countries. London, United Kingdom:

The London School of Economics and Political Science. Accessed 24 September 2018

“Medical Dangers of Anorexia Nervosa.” Eating Disorders Catalogue, 23 Dec. 2013,

www.edcatalogue.com/medical-dangers-anorexia-nervosa/. Accessed 25 September 2018

Perloff, Richard M. "Social Media Effects on Young Women's Body Image Concerns:

Theoretical Perspectives and an Agenda for Research." Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, vol.

71, no. 11-12, 2014, pp. 363-377. ProQuest

Oksanen, Atte, et al. “Proanorexia Communities on Social Media.” Pediatrics, vol. 137, no. 1,

2016, pp. Accessed 24 September 2018.