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December 30, 2021
With over one billion users, TikTok is now a household name. The ability to blow up overnight and spread information at lightning speed is now in every person’s hands. In March of 2020, the world went into lockdown and teenagers’ lives have never been the same. With a wave of new trends and way too much time on some people’s hands, this not only worsened many women’s body issues but even sparked a fire in some teenagers’ minds that their body was not “enough”.
#Meanspo (meaning mean inspiration) was trending on the social media app for a while. This “trend” took inspiration from Tumblr’s popular term “thinspo” which was coined in the early 2000s. Thin inspiration would show peoples weights and some would publicly say they are “pro-ana” meaning pro-anorexia. Tumblr made efforts to lessen the impact of this trend, but the damage had already been done. In 2012, the look these girls were going for was visible bones and showing their sickness to the world as a gold medal. With a respawn of these trends, social media threatens to once again hurt many teenagers’ lives.
I started having thinspos (thin inspirations) and that’s all that surrounded my explore pages, I became obsessed.”
— Annabelle Papke '24
Some trends are not as straightforward though, most are hidden under a blanket of “health”. What I eat in a Day was trending on multiple social media platforms right before the summer of 2021. Many were showing how people got their “summer bodies.” and while many people meant well, this can be damaging when not done correctly. By showing low-calorie intake that is not enough for even a toddler, hurtful habits can be normalized and even flourish.
These posts can pop up on anyone’s For You Page and permanently damage the viewer. The dangers of social media and eating disorders are outreach. At any time, someone in Iowa can reach almost anyone in the world. Although this can be amazing, it can also be detrimental to teenagers’ social growth.