There is no escaping the #Fitspiration trend on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram are absolutely bombarded by #Fitspiration posts, but are they all actually inspiring or just damaging?
On the surface, fitspo posts come across as inspirational and encourage us to eat healthy, train hard and lose weight with the use of quotations and pictures of very toned and fit-looking people, so what’s so bad about that?
Well to be honest, pretty much everything is wrong with it, for someone like me – low self-esteem and very body conscious, these posts only make things worse for me in many ways!
1. Fitspo posts are dressed up as innocent images just trying to promote a healthy lifestyle, however 9 times out of 10, these posts are just ANNOTHER way of sexualising women predominately, but also men on social media. Something that I am sick of!! The way that images are used in fitspo posts is objectifying and extremely appearance-based, shockingly, most of the time they just focus in on and emphasise a particular part of the body, cutting out women’s heads and faces. Flat stomachs, big bums, tiny wastes and long toned legs are of the most popular to be used for these types of posts. Personally, this makes me feel horrible about myself, yet again as a woman we are made to feel like we are nothing but a sexy body here to please others, and these so called ‘fitness inspiration’ images are no different to the likes of page 3.
2. They do not promote a healthy lifestyle. Instead they have the power to make you feel bad for not being skinny, or if you’re naturally slim, they make you feel bad for that too! The heavily promoted new fit ideal is also referred to as ‘thinspiration’ which I find absolutely disgusting, under no circumstances should images promote being overly skinny as healthy!! Its misleading, ethically wrong and highly damaging to women of all sizes. No matter what your body shape, it seems that social media constantly makes you feel horrible about it and fitspo adds to this massively. I’m sure you’ve come across quotes such as ‘Men like curves only dogs like bones.’ And ‘Skinny girls look good in clothes, fit girls look good naked.’ And ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.’ Amazingly the quotes that feature on these images have the capability to make any girl feel bad and the negative affects of this can be extremely damaging leading to extreme body dissatisfaction, easting disorders and abnormal exercise behaviour in a bid for girls to make the ‘cut’ of the women presented on ‘#thinspiration’ posts. Fitspo is pushing girls to do absolutely anything to be ‘skinny’. Real fitspiration should be promoting a healthy, natural body and healthy mind, not shaming body types to make other body types seem better.
3. The combination of shocking and body shaming quotes placed on top of objectified women is definitely not Fitspiration!!! Featuring very thin, usually surgically and digitally enhanced, fake tanned, and oiled up body parts, just like the millions of images of social media, are yet again representing women as objects, and presenting unrealistic ideals that girls are made to feel like they should meet, and if you don’t look like the fake images then you are made to feel bad about it and work yourself into the ground as desperate attempt to do so. But actually, no one will ever look like these images because they are not real! furthermore, they are causing thousands and thousands of women to make themselves mentally and physically ill through their attempts just to look like this! Trust me, I can totally understand this, I often feel like I need to change myself to be
accepted, but as a society we need to see past the representations of women on social media because they are just not realistic. I am naturally slim and because of that I feel like I am not curvy enough to be classed as ‘beautiful’ but there is not much I can do about that and that makes me feel horrible. In the past this has made me not want to wear particular clothes in fear of looking too thin and not curvy and beautiful like all these other girls on Instagram! However, after
researching into the area for a few years now, I am able to look past the fake images promoted on Instagram and understand that they are not real and therefore leaving me closer to my ideal self. As a society we need to see past the images and messages presented to us on social media and unhealthy, body shaming messages should not be promoted on any social networking sites and especially not disguised as healthy lifestyle inspiration when they are absolutely not promoting that at all!