Project Proposal

The research topic I have decided to work on this semester is <Social Media’s influence on Self-Esteem>. A few years ago, I watched an interesting video on Youtube that shows the process of photoshopping a model’s picture to make her face brighter, her waist slimmer, her legs longer, and so on. At the time, me and my friends watching the video thought it was fascinating, since it was our first time watching the process of using technology to ‘enhance’ the appearance of a human being. Now, it is very common for people, especially teenagers, to use filters or photoshop to enhance their looks before uploading pictures on social media. As a result, people post only their best-looking, perfectly edited photos on their social media, making everyone, including themselves, to believe that they look just like their photos on social media.

While I was looking for articles related to social media, I found an interesting disorder called ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ (https://www.bu.edu/research/articles/snapchat-dysmorphia/). This is depression caused by people constantly thinking about their flaws in their appearance, comparing it to their photoshopped appearance. I found this very interesting because this is definitely something I have experienced myself. As a fan of social media platforms such as Instagram, I spend a lot of time taking selfies with filters that ‘enhance’ my appearance by making my eyes bigger, my nose higher, and so on. Through these experiences, I have come to believe that I do not look my best in real life, and that I must use filters/photoshop before uploading anything on my social media. In addition, I spend a lot of time adding to my insecurity by looking at other people’s perfect photos on their timelines, which makes me think that everyone else is prettier/slimmer than me and that I need to change my appearance. Through this research, I aim to explore the mechanisms behind this body dysmorphic disorder and how people can prevent the insecurities caused by social media.

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