Instagram is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. Each month – over 1 billion people log into the app at least monthly. Recent research discovered that most people using Instagram are aged between 25-34 – more than half of the total Instagram users fall into this age category. It’s a platform that influences, advertises, and educates its users through content shared by influencers, business accounts, and media accounts of various varieties. The downside to Instagram? It has been dubbed one of the most toxic platforms, and almost at the forefront of the toxicity is body image and, thus, bodybuilding.
Below, we’ll explore the toxic bodybuilding culture Instagram is creating and how influencers contribute to it.
Let’s start with the facts because there’s plenty of research about the concept of a toxic environment that Instagram has unwillingly turned into – specifically related to body image. Harvard conducted research that proved that image-based platforms have detrimental effects on mental health, specifically teenagers. The insider also researched the effects of Instagram fitness culture, highlighting how influencers amass a following and then use it to create meal plans, workouts, apps, books, etc. Some of them also share conflicting opinions on the use of intense diets and steroids – yet if you look at websites like Alphapharmcanada.is, you’ll see blog posts highlighting how there many common misconceptions about the use.
That causes – as research has proven – a negative social comparison and unrealistic opinions of body image and appearance. Instagram aids the delusion by using a tailored algorithm that creates tailored Instagram feeds based on usage. Someone who constantly looks at fitness pages will have a discover page and feed filled with influencers and brands that aren’t always spreading the most insightful and correct information.
What Influencers Themselves Think
Influencers themselves also have a lot to say about the toxic bodybuilding and fitness culture Instagram is creating. Not only are they aware of how their own content can influence people, but the comments they receive can be detrimental to their own mental health. Instagrammer trolling has become somewhat of its own pandemic. Numerous reports highlight the dark side of Instagram for influencers, particularly fitness influencers, is the abuse of their body image, content, and lifestyle choices.
Despite Instagram introducing new tools to protect the community from abuse, the problem seems to be escalating.
How Does Instagram Compare To Other Platforms
Instagram is by far the worst platform for toxic abuse against influencers and for creating problems with body image for people of all ages. YouTube is the second most-used platform for fitness influencers – many reach new heights of influence and fame through creating vlogs. Notably, Instagram influencers often comment on how YouTube is a safe haven compared to Instagram, with notably fewer issues with toxic abuse. Studies highlight how YouTube increases people’s understanding of others’ experiences, helps people access expert health information, and provides emotional support.
Instagram is one of the many social media platforms that fitness influencers can use to spread their opinions, tips, and journey. How they choose to do so can massively impact the followers that ultimately look to them for guidance and inspiration. Do you think Instagram has slowly created a toxic online fitness culture?