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Karen Garcia

Professor Jennifer Rodrick

English 115

October 1, 2018

The Illusion of Instagram

Do you ever wonder why people 1) become Anorexic and 2) 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 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. Instagram comes with a variety of gorgeous models and celebrities that

people admire 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. Which encourages teenagers to

create an account without asking for their parent’s permission. Its not much of a hard task

because all they need is an email, username, and password. What parents don’t know is that

their kids have access to almost anything on this app, from watching videos of cute babies to 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 who is unaware of its dangers.

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

filled with pictures of tremendously skinny bodies that are supposed to “inspire” people so they

can start obsessing over their weights and have that skinny body. This hashtag has been a part of
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the Instagram anorexia community and it became a controversy 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 and Social Media is a

place to connect with others. I believe that 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 and

‘flawless’ celebritiest hat they look up to because or the way they sing or act. When these

individuals see these celebrities they think that they have to look just like them in order 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 causes them to harm their well being, developing eating

disorders like Anorexia and preventing them from having a healthy lifestyle. Anorexia is an

eating disorder that is caused by an obsession over losing weight and it could turn into a life-

threatening situation. Some people go on with their lives without realizing that they are suffering

from Anorexia. They live their lives thinking that they are still not skinny or pretty enough and

continuously starve 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 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 say the
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muscular, good-looking dudes. This is what makes these boys and men feel insecure and if they

are slightly chubby they find that Anorexia is a faster, easier way to lose the excess weight as

girls do.

A numerous amount of people have been consumed by anorexia because of feeling the

need to lose an excessive amount of weight in order to be pretty. They believe that this is the

fastest route but it is a 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. However, these young individuals still deserve to have the freedom they

have online. The same way, there’s a negative side to everything, even social media, there’s a

good side to it too. 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 , seek help from a health professional to provide

guidance and the necessary nutrients to get them in a stabilized healthy shape. Instead of

confronting anorexics rudely, one must do it gently and with compassion because not only is

Anorexia is a physical illness but it is also a mental illness. 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 forces or harasses the person to start eating more, it will

only make them feel worse.


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

be worried about that. They should learn that it’s okay to be different even if it takes a while for

them to understand that. I’ve had my own experiences, and I honestly think that instead of

society trying to force people to look a certain way, they should be focused on showing off all

types of bodies, Stretch Marks or No Stretch Marks. It is their body and their choice to do

whatever they want but it's not a good decision to change your body 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, filled with dull people. 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 perfect.

Work Cited
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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.


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