Supporting Young Women: Combatting Social Media Expectations, Dismantling Sizeism, and Bolstering Sexual Health



With the growing number of social media applications in our society, it is no secrete that many young women compare themselves to the ideal, beautiful bodies of models, socialites, and artists who presence permeate social media (Perloff, 2014). This comparison, namely to the ideal beautiful body, leaves little room for flaws; this expectation of perfection is far from obtainable, yet this quandary does not keep young women from trying to obtain the perfection that amasses social media (Fardouly et al., 2015). Researchers have found that the impact of social media has negative affects on mental, emotional, and sexual health. Specifically, findings suggest that young women who compare themselves to the ideals they see on social media may body shame, have poor self-esteem, or develop a negative body image, among other negative mental health outcomes. In addition to these social comparisons, our society and helping professionals also adhere to outdated and harmful Weight Normative Models that perpetuate sizeism and fat phobia (Tylka et al., 2014).

This program will describe social media’s impact on young women’s self-esteem, body image, and sexual health; compare Weight Normative and Weight Inclusive approaches to health and wellness and provide interventions that honor inclusive approaches; and share evidence based interventions that can be used to support young women struggling with body image, self-esteem, and body shame.

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