After recently finishing my dissertation on body image and how advertising can affect women’s perception of body image I decided to look into how social media can affect it. Typing the words size zero into tumblr made me die in a little inside admittedly. Myself being 5’3 and a size 8, people often assume I barely eat (this isn’t true at all!). Anyway, recently social media has introduced a ban on such words as ‘pro ana’ and ‘thin spo’. Even though these social media sites have vowed to stop the promotion of ‘thinspo’ no amount of monitoring will completely eliminate social media’s ability to glorify the idea of the ‘thin ideal’.
Here are just a couple of examples of what I found while briefly scrolling through the ‘size zero’ tag on Tumblr
In fact, the photo above was reblogged so many times on this tag it was all that I saw for a while. Slightly worrying I must say.
However, while scrolling I found posts such as:
It just goes to show that even on such tags as ‘size zero’ there are some girls that don’t want to be a ‘coathanger’ and learn to love their curves
Quotes such as Kate Moss’ 2009 quote ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ only reinforces the fact that so many girls have the ambition to become as skinny as the girls they see on the catwalk and in the magazines that they read. Although quotes such as the famous Marilyn Monroe quote makes me realise that there is still some hope that maybe one day plus size models will be featured on catwalks.
In fact, a lot of clothing stores – both high street and online – don’t go above a size 16. Often women considered as ‘plus size’ have to go to stores that specialise in bigger sizes. And even stores that do stock plus size ranges don’t use plus size mannequins to display the clothes so this in turn gives the women a misrepresentation of what the clothes will look like on their body.
Society really needs to realise that women come in all shapes and sizes and really need to cater to this instead of broadcasting this message that the ‘thin-ideal’ is exactly that – ideal.