When I was younger, I struggled with body image insecurities, and over time with the help of my family and friends, I’ve learned to love and appreciate my body. Thinking about my journey led me to this driving question: “How does social media impact and influence the body image of young women, specifically from the ages 14 to 18?” Based on my creative interests, I decided to design my project as a photography and research exhibition on the impact of social media on the body image of young women.
My time spent exploring beauty standards and body image in my ninth-grade classes, such as Digital Tools & Citizenship and Independent Inquiry, served as a research foundation for my project. Over the course of this year, my project evolved. I started with the general topic of body image insecurities, and I narrowed it down to social media’s impact on young women’s body image. Narrowing the subject of my project allowed for more focused research and accuracy. I eliminated some aspects of my project, such as doing a data collection survey on the statistical impact of social media on young women’s body image. I added other elements, such as the detailed Tools & Takeaways section of my project.
Most importantly, from my experience working on this project, I learned to accept the fluidity of collaborating with others and the importance of listening to other people’s experiences and perspectives. My project resulted in three young women having the opportunity to reflect on their body image journey and simultaneously allowing myself to learn more about the unique experiences of others. If I imagined continuing my project, I would create a documentary on the impact of social media in young women’s lives that builds upon my findings in this project. I would also take my interview questions/process and formulate a self-interview process that anyone interested in reflecting on their body image journey can do.