The Impact of Body Shaming on Social Media Use


Body-shaming is an issue that frequently happens especially among adolescents in this modern era. Many studies on body-shaming indicate that body-shaming can lead to serious mental problems such as mood disorder, anxiety or even depression. As a result, body-shaming may also possibly change people’s way to socialize or their social behavior in a negative way. Nowadays, social media has become a platform for people to interact with others most of their time. Therefore, this study focused on how body shaming affects people’s social behavior by seeing at how someone uses social media.

The objectives of this study is to find out whether body shaming affects people’s social behavior or not and to identify whether the impact of body shaming on social media use is caused by their own perception or because they were body-shamed by others. The subjects of this study were school and college students in the age group 13-25 years and were selected randomly. They were given a questionnaire to find out about their thought or experience on body-shaming, how they use social media on daily basis and the correlation between body-shaming and social media.


Keywords: Body-shaming, Social Media, Social Behavior


Research indicates there is a strong correlation between eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa and depression in women and even more than 90-95% of cases of anorexia happen to young women (Mental Health America, 2019). These eating disorders can happen because people feel anxious about their body appearance which can be caused by body shaming.

Body shaming is an action of criticizing or giving critical comments about someone’s appearance (Cambridge Dictionary,2019). When someone is praised because of their look, the result may be good since it will increase their confidence. On the other side, when someone is judged because of their body (body shaming), it can give a negative impact to their physical and mental health (Daniela and Victoria, 2019).

Based on the survey conducted by Refinery29, most women heard the critical comment of their body before they turn 14 and it shows that from young age, we are already criticized about our appearance (Refinery29, 2017). Furthermore, body-shaming commonly happens to adolescents, but in some cases, body shaming also occurred to people regardless age, gender, and ethnicity. In fact, researchers have always shown a strong connection between body shaming and depression. Nowadays, body shaming is recognized as being the major cause of depression, especially on students. In this case, a study shows many students are bullied mainly because of their body shape, size, or appearance which leads to body-shaming (O’Brien C.,2018). Being the object of bullying make people to feel not confident and become anxious of what others thought about them. Research from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health strengthened the statement by showing that victims of body shaming are usually don’t like to socialize with others or make friends and this will eventually increase their feeling of hopelessness and once again rise their depression rate (Brewis A. A.,2018). Another research from Metropolitan State College of Denver also states that people who like to criticize and judge their body or appearance show higher level of depression (Hamilton, S.R., 2008).

Looking from society these days, social media has been immersed to their life and many people are frequently looking to social media to find beauty role models (Crystal,2017). As a result, lots of people especially women are attached to the beauty standard from social media although sometimes it may be destructive or toxic. According to the research made by University of Massachusetts Boston, body-shaming occur because of the lack of ability to follow the ideal standard created by social media (Evans M.,2010). Hence, there are a lot of cases where people are body-shamed just because their appearance are not compatible to that standard. For this reason, body shaming are stated to lead people toward depression since they also build and develop a feeling of hopelessness.

Within the next few years, body shaming will certainly affect victim’s mental health and lead to a higher rate of depression which is a serious matter, especially for the young generation. It is clearly shown that body shaming has affected people in many aspects including decreased self-esteem and low confidence. In this era, people frequently interact with others using social media and there has been a lot of people reported to be body-shamed on social media. Consequently, people who have been victims of body shaming will be more cautious when using social media or even worse they may stop using social media. As a result, social media will be only filled with people who are thinking that they are suitable according to the beauty standard created by media

In essence, there has been a lot of research related to body shaming and the focus of the research is also varied. For example, research from University of Massachusetts Boston studied the role of body shame and self-objectification in hopelessness depression among college-age women. Similarly, research from International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health also studied about how weight shame affects social connection and lead to depressive symptom in late adolescence as well as research from Metropolitan State College of Denver which studied about the relationship between perceived Body Image and Depression. All of these research states the same thing which is body shaming can cause depression.

Despite that issue, no one as far as we know has studied how body shaming affects people’s behavior on social media and it is not known yet whether these changes in behavior is caused by their own perception or others who body-shamed them. Thus, the aim of this study is to evaluate whether body shaming affects their social behavior or not by looking at how they use social media. Another objective is to identify whether the impact of body shaming on social media use is caused by their own perception or because they were body-shamed by others.

After this study is finished, TULIS SIGNIFICANCE

People will learn how to stand up for themselves or others.

It will encourage the victims to speak up and to seek help from others.

People will learn the effects of body shaming on the way the victims socialize with others. Therefore people will realize and understand that conquering the fear to socialize after being body-shamed is difficult and challenging.

People will not consider trivial about the impacts of body shaming since it can affect the victims in significant ways.


The methodology of this study uses a questionnaire to gather data and descriptive statistics to evaluate the data.

The methodology of this study uses survey forms to collect data and descriptive statistics to analyses the data. In this study, students of both sexes within the age group of 13-25 from different backgrounds. The colleges were situated near each other and also an online survey form, for convenience.

A random sample was included in this study. The data was collected from students of different colleges so that the final assessment would be more precise and biases kept at a minimum.

The respondents were first explained the reasons of this study. Next, formal consent was obtained and the survey forms were given to the respondent when they were off the class or the link was given via emails or texts. Confidentiality of the respondent’s information like names will be kept to ourselves. Data thus collected was systematized for further analysis.

Hamilton, S. R. (2008). A relationship between perceived body image and depression: How college women see themselves may affect depression. Student Journal of Psychological Science, 1(1), 13-20.

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