Of all components of social networks, nothing is quite like Instagram’s explore tab. It’s a vision of what technology thinks we are into. For most people, it’s usually full of memes, posts of celebrities, and open profiles of people the algorithm thinks you find attractive, based on profiles you’ve deep dived into.
The people almost always look flawless and filtered to perfection. The problem, however, is that they make us feel terrible because we don’t look like them.
A recent survey conducted by Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Instagram reveals that 48% of men between the ages of 16 to 40 said their mental health has been affected by how they feel about their bodies. The pandemic hasn’t helped as 58% said COVID-19 has made them feel worse about their body.
One in five men said they don’t even want to talk about the subject with anyone else.
We’ve been online a lot more while being stuck at home and previous studies have already shown that there is a direct correlation between spending time on social media platforms like Instagram and depression. Heck, even influencers have long admitted that they know Instagram is bad for our image and mental health.
Now, with increased screen time, things are only getting worse.
Out of the 2,000 men surveyed in the UK, only one in four said they are happy with how they look, and one in five said they don’t even want to talk about the subject with anyone else.
This makes sense, considering one cursory look at #bodypositivity and #selflove on the platform, shows that these are typically focused on women and men aren’t even active participants in movements aimed at helping those struggling with body image issues.
Nearly two out of five men surveyed said they felt the pressure to have the perfect body. Over the past year, more and more people are getting into fitness, with demand for home gym equipment on the rise.
How much of that is due to wanting to be physically and mentally fit versus just feeling societal pressure? We don’t have research on that yet. But considering all current evidence, it’s likely not because men suddenly have started loving themselves.