As a content creator, how much do you focus on your body image?
The relationship between body image and social media has been widely studied and reported on, reflective of society's focus on it as we continue to post and consume more content online.
For those outside the ‘conventional ideal’, traditional media and imagery projecting certain ideas of beauty may add another weight to their minds. Add this to the already hyper-focused view a creator can have on themselves and their content, this can have a negative effect on mental health.
Many studies have shown that social media has a negative impact on body image and self confidence. A study posted by Psychology Research and Behaviour Management looked at the relationship between selfies and body confidence as well as mood. The researchers found that selfie taking/posting/viewing all have a negative effect on the body confidence and mood of adolescents. Beyond this, the more importance people place on peer recognition, the worse the effect.
Content creators - especially full-time creators - potentially are at a very high risk, given their online presence is directly tied to their ‘worth’ and also their income. It’s therefore important for your mental health to make sure you don’t conflate the two.
Another study published by Psychology, Health & Medicine looked at the relationship between body diversity in media and weight bias. Weight bias is the tendency to have thoughts relating to negative stereotypes around body image as well as a dislike for people who are obese.
In the study, participants watched one of three videos, which displayed either a diverse range of body types working out, slimmer body types working out, or a video with no people at all (the control group). Those who watched the video with slimmer athletes reported a higher intent for healthy eating with no significant change in weight bias, however participants who watched the “This Girl Can” video (below) - featuring a bigger range of body types - had a significant decrease in weight bias in the study.
Based on the findings of this study, increased body-diversity representation in the media/on YouTube will help reduce weight bias amongst viewers. This leaves content creators in an interesting position to really help make change in the digital landscape. For those outside the ‘norm’, being unapologetically and authentically yourself can help add representation to the creator space, but it comes at the price of facing potential backlash and/or troll comments.
One incredible creator who is a loud and proud advocate for body positivity is Ama Scriver. An award-winning social media strategist, journalist, podcaster, and all-round community champion, Ama has been a vocal advocate for body positivity in the online world.
We were lucky enough to chat to her on an episode of the Creator Generation podcast, which you can check out here:
As mentioned on the pod, here are some of Ama’s top picks of content creators who embrace and champion body confidence:
Sarah Anne (@tonsablush)
The Curvy Fashionista (@thecurvyfashionista)
Nicolette Mason (@nicolettemason)
Gabi Fresh (@gabifresh)
All in all, body image is an inseparable part of being a content creator for those who appear in their content. For those who are struggling, there are plenty of people in the community to look to for support and inspiration to be your best unapologetic self.
The digital landscape for creators is lucky to have such a wide range of people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and body types - and these should be celebrated. Undoubtedly there can be times of insecurity, but for those who can manage it, there is a great opportunity to help add representation to the feeds of those who need to see it.
Come meet your fellow creator community in the Creator Generation Discord! It’s a place where you can share your videos/content, get advice from fellow creators and experts, and join in on live events like Q&A’s and panel discussions. Click here to check it out!