This commentary in response to Perloff (2014) suggests considerations for studying social media’s potential influence on body image. These are derived from Perloff’s transactional model of social media and body image. In investigating how social media use may influence body dissatisfaction in the United States, scholars should consider how the purposes and functions of social media differentiate them from traditional media effects theories. Individuals may be more likely to encounter unsought messages in social media than in traditional media. Social media messages have the potential to present much more diverse representations of female and male bodies because they are mostly produced and disseminated by individuals. Finally, social media offer the ability to reach a variety of at-risk groups with media literacy training. Media literacy training educates audiences about the purposes of messages, which can increase skepticism and possibly reduce message effects. Thus, media literacy training may address the media-related aspect of body dissatisfaction because it teaches critical and analytical skills. Theoretically driven models such as Perloff’s transactional model of social media and body image provide a fruitful basis of research.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 2, 2014
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