The student newspaper of Washington-Lee High School

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Social media drives societal pressures

Photo credits to www.eoht.info

Photo credits to www.eoht.info

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With our generation having easy access to social media, societal pressures have grown tremendously. Media outlets such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Tumblr create an image of what the ‘ideal’ body should look like by having models of similar body types pose for pictures.  The photos, in turn, are making many grow more self-conscious about their physical appearance. “I feel really bad for the younger children of our generation right now,” freshman Erica Johns said. “The amount of social and physical pressures that we all feel the need to live up to is insane.”

From a certain viewpoint, if you do not have curves, thigh gaps, muscles or are not the right height, then you are less than perfect. I personally find that really disturbing, especially because many feel the need to go to extremes in order to ‘fit in’. People always say that what matters most in a person is their personality and how kind a person is to others, but that is not always the case. Excluding people from activities or just simply being rude to someone based on how they look or how they are dressed is not okay in any way. The standards that everyone is expected to live up to are not realistic. You can not help how you look or your body type. “It doesn’t matter how others view you,” freshman Greta Engel said. “It does matter what you think of yourself, however. Never let others sway you away from thinking anything but the best of who you are.”

Societal pressures are not only spread through images but also through conversations. According to an anonymous Broad View Survey, 88 percent of students reported feeling bad about the way they looked because of something an acquaintance or even a friend has said about or to them. That number is 30 percent higher than what it was in 2000, according to the Social Pressures of America survey. This percentage was a huge jump within 16 years, due to the creation and growing popularity of social media sites. “I feel like social media plays a major role in the way that people, especially girls, see and present themselves,” Engel said. “You are not only presenting yourself to your standards, but also the standards of your peers.”

While a vast majority of people say that they do not take part in placing pressure upon others, that is not always true. Sometimes comments that others may find hurtful may seem okay to others.  I strongly disagree with whoever says that societal pressures are non-existent because numerous studies, surveys, and tests disprove that notion. “In today’s world, there are a lot of issues that we as a society turn away from seeing,” freshman Clara Helms said, “but we cannot keep closing the door on matters like this.”

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The student newspaper of Washington-Lee High School
Social media drives societal pressures