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Instagram Influencers’ Sexy Posts Make Women Dislike Their Own Bodies: Study

The study investigated the effect of viewing both standard fashion and sexualized imagery. 

Instagram influencers posting sexy snaps lowers women’s mood and makes them dislike their own bodies, claims a new study.

The researchers say that viewing sexualized Instagram posts by online influencers increases the negative mood and body dissatisfaction of young female adults.

A young woman looking at social media posts on her iPhone. Research claims that social media influencers lower the self-esteem of female viewers. (COTTONBRO STUDIO/PEXELS)

They claim it also promotes negative effects among viewers beyond striving for thinness and attractiveness.

The team, from Flinders University in Australia, highlighted the negative impact of sexualised images on social media and the need for enhanced regulation in relation to influencer advertising.

Associate Professor Ivanka Prichard, head the Embrace Impact Lab at the University said: “Some Influencers endorse lingerie and bikini products, and there is growing concern about the overtly sexualised nature of the imagery they post to social media.

“This problem is amplified by the popularity of Instagram among young adults aged 18-34 years, with more than two billion active users monthly.”

The study, published in the journal Body Image, investigated the effect of viewing both standard fashion and sexualized imagery.

A view of the Instagram photo on an iPhone. Female influencers often post photos in bikinis or lingerie garments. (DLXMEDIA.HU/PEXELS)

This was defined as posing in lingerie or bikini garments in a suggestive manner posted by the same female influencers.

Women aged 17–25 were recruited online and completed pre- and post-viewing measurements of mood and body dissatisfaction, as well as measures of appearance comparison and self-objectification.

“Exposure to influencer imagery led to greater negative mood, body dissatisfaction, appearance comparison and self-objectification than exposure to control images,” said body image expert Prof Prichard. 

Social media influencers often have blue check marks for certification purposes and some could have thousands of followers.

Hashtags are often associated the picture in the scene of their photo shoots.

“Furthermore, exposure to sexualized images led to an even greater negative mood, body dissatisfaction and appearance comparison than exposure to standard fashion images of influencers nand this was with images chosen as being only moderately sexualized rather than hypersexualized, which depict more lewd poses,” said Prichard about trigger of moods for other women.

Some influencers often associate themselves with brands that are well known or up coming for the purpose of driving marketing for the products.

Prichard had stated that Instagram users must unfollow accounts limit their exposure.

“The most obvious implication is that women should be advised to limit their exposure to such images and to unfollow the accounts of influencers who post this type of material,” said Prichard. “There is growing evidence that even a short break from Instagram can have considerable benefit.”

Prichard says it could be argued that Influencers, who gain considerable financial benefit from their endorsements, should be held to the same standards as other advertisers.

“Our study findings highlight the detrimental impact of exposure to sexualized imagery, which is an increasingly common part of contemporary social media, and the role of social comparisons to such imagery,” said Prichard. “We have clearly shown that the effects of sexualization extend beyond those of attractiveness.”

Social media influencers don’t have a big following like other well known celebrities including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Taylor Swift.

These influencers often gain following for various purposes where some could face criticism of sexualization bringing down women’s confidence. 

“These findings illustrate the need for more research and enhanced regulation regarding advertising by influencers on social media.”



Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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