In this paper we provide a commentary on Perloff’s theoretical perspectives and agenda for research that examines the effects of social media on young women’s body image concerns. Social media are the main form of mass media being used by the youth of today, and researchers in the U.S. and Australia have commenced studying how these may be affecting body image concerns. However, the processes underlying how social media may influence young people’s body image appear to be no different from underlying other forms of mass media. Research is needed to more fully evaluate youth’s experiences of online appearance culture and how this may foster both negative and positive peer interactions. We also need more studies which compare the influences on social media with other media forms as there is no clear evidence that social networking sites and other forms of social media are more detrimental to one’s body image than other forms of media. We also consider factors that may protect young people from internalizing appearance ideals that are promoted by the mass media. In addition, we consider broader conceptualizations of body image so that a wider range of human experiences can be studied.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 15, 2014
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