On the platforms there are girls who share a diary to eat the minimum each day, ideas to purge or self-harm. We spend half or more of the day looking at images and videos on platforms like Instagram or TikTok; we invest so much time that we have become accustomed to seeing behaviors that are dangerous to our health without blinking an eye, we have even normalized them. From these platforms, dangerous behaviors, challenges to see who loses more weight, does more squats or eats less in a day are shown shamelessly, and to the rhythm of catchy music. It is terrible, especially since all this is within the reach of children and adolescents on these social networks.
None of this is new. There have always been media outlets that reported dangerous behaviors, such as blogs that talked about anorexia and bulimia from a romantic and idealized point of view, and even maintained forums to recruit more girls, mainly by sharing their tricks to get sicker every day and removing them from reality.
But currently, and more since the pandemic, on social networks you can see videos of girls -this affects women more, although it is increasingly affecting the male sector- sharing a diary to eat the minimum each day, ideas to purge, self-harm… Practically, it is like watching a series of self-destruction in real time. The protagonists of these videos often tell how every day they felt the pressure to create content and share it on a day-to-day basis during their illness and their plummet. Of course, do not even think about showing a boob, that they cancel it for inappropriate content.
Now that mental health is the new concern since the pandemic, some models and influencers have wanted to get closer to the rest of mortals, uploading photos where they do not look so perfect. Like, for example, a comparison of relaxed casing, which can look slightly bulky, compared to when they put casing in for photos and events. Although the intention is good, the difference between both photos is almost insignificant, so in the eyes of those who see this comparison what it generates is frustration. Please, that is not a bulging belly, no matter how hard the model tries to get a belly out! It ends up being a pretty ridiculous practice, because most of these women don’t have a belly or fill it with pressurized air, but the rest of us who see this comparison feel frustrated because we do not fit in any of the photos.
Unfiltered adolescence on Instagram
Another practice that became fashionable, and does not cease, is that the thighs do not rub against each other as a sign of thinness; there must be some kind of arch between both thighs. If they rub against us, it means that we are overweight and we are not doing things right. If they rub against you, it is time to get down working to lose weight or play sports, until your thighs create an arc where any contact between them is impossible. Where did this come from? I do not know, but it is a popular practice that indicates you’re either on the good side or the wrong side of life. The fact that the thighs rub against each other does not have to do exclusively with body weight, but with the physiognomy of each one but, as always, to the discomfort that it happens to you ends up adding the guilt for not having that perfect body where the thighs would only rub against each other in a parallel reality.
Another type of publication that adds nothing but frustration is making a video or a post about what you eat or train in a day. This practice is not exclusive to models and influencers, but it is also something that personal trainers and nutritionists do. At first it may seem harmless, but if someone you consider to be a benchmark in food, sports or fashion teaches you what they eat in a day or what they train, it is normal for you to believe that at least your routine should be similar to them. That without taking into account how manipulated that content can be. Why is it not very suspicious that all the food that day and his training so perfect?
This type of content generates comparison: there is a tendency to think that there is a single model of food and sport, while both must be personalized and adapted to the circumstances of each one. I always mention it, but for a person who is going through an eating disorder (ED), a perfect day in their diet is the one in which they dare to eat that food that scares them so much, even if it is not especially nutritious, while for someone who never eats fruit, their achievement will be to eat at least one piece that day.
It is important that we review the content of what we see. If you follow accounts that make you compare your body, generate guilt or frustrate you, you should stop following them to preserve your mental health. And if you are a person who can generate a certain or a lot of impact, be it because of your profession, because of your fame, be very careful about the message you give, and the content you upload, even though you can appeal to the responsibility of the other, ta that you also have responsibility for the content you share. And if you are a father, mother, guardian, or aunt, as in my case, supervise the content consumed by minors under your care. I assure you that in my office I see disorders that started in the most innocent way, went unnoticed because they started as something healthy, eat something better, move more, all driven by social pressure and ended up getting out of hand, because it often happens.