Viewing social media content aimed at challenging mainstream beauty ideals can boost body confidence among young women, a new study in 2019 revealed.
Participants in the experimental research who were shown ‘body positive’ content on Instagram experienced improvements in body satisfaction, body appreciation and positive mood. Those in the same study shown ‘thin ideal’ images and neutral images did not report an equivalent improvement. A new trend on social media, body positivity (or BoPo), aims to challenge narrow societal ideals of female beauty in favour of
In the experiment, 195 women aged 18 to 30 years were randomly allocated to view either 20 body positive, thin-ideal, or appearance-neutral Instagram posts. The women were asked to answer questions relating to their body image and mood immediately before and after viewing the posts.
In addition to showing improved body image and positive mood in response to body positive material, the participants also showed favourable attitudes towards body positive accounts, with the majority reporting being willing to follow them in future. Those exposed to ‘thin-ideal’ content experienced decreases in body satisfaction, body appreciation and positive mood.
The researchers said: “To the best of our knowledge, the study is the first to demonstrate that viewing ‘body positive’ content on Instagram may improve positive mood, body satisfaction, and body appreciation.
The research report can be found here: