In June 2018, it was reported that the social media giant Instagram had gained 1 billion accounts, making it one of the most popular social media apps of all time. While many people enjoy this app, it's also no secret that Instagram has brought about a change in the way people view social media. Social media is suddenly becoming less of an area where people can connect with old friends and repost cat videos and more of a comparison-fest among users to see who can look the most perfect and give off the idea that they live a perfect life the best. It's been proven that this way of thinking leads to feelings of depression, anxiety, and the dreaded FOMO, which is the "fear of missing out."
This also leads to people criticizing their own appearance. Speaking from my own experience, if I see a picture of a model or influencer on Instagram, I will immediately start comparing them to myself. "Am I as pretty as they are? They're probably skinnier than me, aren't they? I don't have nearly as many likes as they do." Those are all things I tell myself when I see a person who I think is prettier than me. This is also an issue people deal with daily, as young people everywhere use social media to adjust their appearance and seek out the approval of their peers.
Usually, studies show female students having these issues, but men are not exempt from negative body image.
Just as female body standards are incredibly high due to the way people edit their appearance for social media, magazines, and the movies, men find themselves in the exact same trap. It doesn't happen as often as it does for women, but the expectations for men to look a certain way are still very high. Watch any superhero movie, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Every man in every superhero movie is expected to have biceps the size of their head, a jawline that could cut glass, and abs of steel. Just like every woman feels it's impossible to have a tiny waist and great hair, I can imagine men feel the same way sometimes.
Celebrities can feel this way too, even the Winter Soldier himself.
Sebastian Stan recently opened up on Instagram about how he's been struggling with body image issues of his own while getting in shape to film various projects he's a part of. The expectations on this man to look like an Adonis were probably sky-high. He plays one of the most attractive heroes in the entire MCU (you know it's true), which only increases those same expectations. He opened up about how he's fought these issues for years, and that's one of the bravest things a person with Sebastian Stan's fame can do.
No one is exempt from struggling with body image issues, even men. With the intense presence social media has in the world nowadays, I'm afraid it may not go away any time soon. The best we can all do is remember that no one is alone in how they feel. The fact that one of the most attractive celebrities in the business struggles with confidence in their physical appearance should provide something of a comfort.
This should serve as proof that no one can escape these feelings from time to time. You're not alone in how you feel, whether you're male or female. Don't be afraid to talk to someone about your feelings if you need to and remember to be kind to yourself. Just because you don't have a six-pack doesn't mean you're not a beautiful human being. You are amazing just the way you are. I believe Evan Hansen said it best: "Today is going to be a good day, and here's why: Because today... you're you, and that's enough."