The Devastating Impact Of Instagram Ads On Body Image: Perception Vs. Reality

The popular Instagram app may sound like fun and games at first but a new study proves how its ads can truly affect one’s body image.

Thanks to a new study taken from the Journal Of Psychology, we are getting some further insights about the role of Meta’s popular app ads and how they can negatively influence females’ self-esteem.

The research proved how the effect was greater on those women who wanted to be on the extreme of the body mass spectrum. And by that, we mean either too thin or too curvy.

Ads featuring models of this body type on Instagram had people second-guessing their confidence and whether or not they were good enough to fit into society’s image of perfection. And that led to a greater desire to take on drastic measures to appear a certain way.

As one can expect, nothing positive was to come out of such an endeavor. People were ready to compromise their health to look a certain way thanks to these ads that promised to drastically alter one’s looks.

Instagram is one app that’s not only visually appealing but it’s also used as a great medium for interaction purposes. Therefore, people claim they follow the platform religiously and take on the ideal goal of a perfect body image and beauty standard.

So the consequences were studied in detail of such ads on females arising in the late adolescent age bracket.

The beauty standards of society usually have a lot to do with different body types and that is exactly what such ads display, the study showed. However, the main purpose of the research was to see what effect on girls’ body image arose when such ads were frequently encountered. Similarly, it looked at women’s eagerness to take part in actions to get such ideals in place.

Researchers added how they became motivated by a huge concern linked to the negative effect of ads on body image and that too those who had young minds that could be convinced easily.

As it is, studies from the past spoke about how displaying ideal body figures in the media led to more people getting depressed about their own bodies, and hence taking drastic measures to look a certain way.

The authors who do hold marketing degrees added how they’ve also seen the effect of ads on people’s minds and the latter was true for women who were younger in age. But the data regarding the effect that ads have on the Instagram app is not a lot. And that is what motivated the authors to carry out this particular study in detail.

A total of 284 women who were aged between 17 to 19 took part in the study after being allocated via a participant pool so that they met particular criteria for inclusion. Hence, you would need to be a regular app user and shouldn’t have any kind of eating disorder either.

The study proved how women who were exposed to ads featuring models that were either too thin or too curvy via the app were generally inclined to like that kind of body type. And that means such ads have a huge influence on a person’s preference for a body type and also who they consider to be ideal body goals as well.

Young women were also ready to take part in all the actions that were required to attain such a body type, the study added. So if you like the thinner models, you’d be taking measures to get thinner. It could mean taking on drastic surgery or extreme diets to get that body goal. Similar was the case for curvy models featuring bigger breasts and wider hips.

Lastly, the authors noted how body dissatisfaction was a major deciding factor too. The unhappier lot were more inclined to take on such extremes than the rest.

Moreover, women who made physical comparisons with such models were generally more affected by such ads featuring models that were thin or curvy. And that motivated them further to alter their appearances at any cost.

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