Social media negatively affected body image for one in three Brits

A study of 2,000 adults has found that one third think social media has negatively affected their body image.

Social media has even altered the way women perceive their figures, with one in eight women refusing to EVER post a candid photo and more than a quarter admitting they can’t help but compare themselves to celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé.

As such, women are desperately editing photos to remove blemishes and smooth out their skin.

In response to the findings, Really TV channel has launched a series of images to show what iconic stars of yesteryear would have looked like – if their fame had peaked in the age of social media.

Famous faces including Marilyn Monroe, Joan Collins and Kate Moss were re-imagined adorned with puppy-dog ears, comedy specs and love hearts. The images and research were commissioned by Really to launch the new series of How to Look Good Naked, hosted by super stylist Gok Wan.

He said: “Allowing people to edit their pictures on social media with the tap of a screen has led to a beauty ideal that isn’t realistic or achievable.

“It allows people to opt for instant gratification, rather than to work on themselves and actually address the root cause of why they feel a certain way about themselves.

“It might be fun to add a novelty filter or ‘beautify’ our favourite snaps – and most of us use them to some extent – but we should be mindful that these aren’t real images, and we certainly shouldn’t aspire to look like these doctored images.

The study also found 28 per cent edit their pictures in a bid to look as good as possible, while a further fifth do so to fit in with social media norms, knowing most people will re-touch an image before sharing it.

More than one in 10 admit to using editing as an opportunity to remove any perceived flaws, while 18 per cent strive to present their ‘best self’ online.

Millions of Brits will also only share posed pictures, with 22 per cent estimating that as little as five per cent of their posts are candid. In the quest for the best selfie, a third will experiment with angles until finding the one that flatters them best, and 28 per cent will do the same with lighting.

More than a tenth will even time their selfie-taking session to coincide with ‘golden hour’, the time shortly after sunrise or before sunset, where daylight is at its softest and therefore is perceived by some as the most flattering.

The average social media user will spend 20 minutes snapping away before selecting their favourite image to edit and post, with more than two fifths only sharing a picture when they deem it ‘social media ready’.

Looking at other people’s social media accounts can also lead to insecurities about body image – with one in seven feeling jealous of the way others look, and 14 per cent feeling they don’t measure up to the ‘perfect body’.

How to Look Good Naked, Wednesday at 9pm, new and exclusive to Really and available on dplay

Chris Price