Instagram is the realm of perfect images. Adults who access social media at a later stage in life, as well as younger people who grow up with it, know that those pictures have little to do with the analogue reality behind these idealised worlds. Nevertheless, elaborately staged and digitally edited images with which influencers reach young and very young people in particular have an impact. Often, insecurities arise in viewers which are fed by discrepancies: between one’s own appearance and that of professionally good-looking models, between real bodies and their idealised images, between the diffuse feeling of having to be perfect while experiencing failure. Of course, such moments do not only arise in the digital world. But they accumulate and intensify where the preoccupation with perfection intensifies – and a large part of the image platform Instagram has developed into a veritable stage of flawlessness. For girls and young women in particular, Instagram therefore poses risks to their self-esteem: despite all the efforts towards modernity and emancipation, appearance still seems to play a defining role for them.
Media scientist and media educator Maya Götz heads the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) at Bayerischer Rundfunk. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert explains how boys and girls deal with media as well as media content, where the social environment sets the course for such differences to develop between sexes and genders and what role children’s first smartphones play. With hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Götz discusses where the influence of social media on the development of body images begins to be harmful, why girls still have narrower scope for their individuality than boys and how this inequality might be reinforced by social media. trust plays in this.
Link to the study on the self-presentation of female influencers on Instagram: https://www.br-online.de/jugend/izi/deutsch/publikation/televizion/32_2019_1/Goetz-Die_Selbstinszenierung_von_Influencerinnen.pdf
The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.