Dozens of TikTok users in recent weeks have reported an alarming rise in the number of “body scan” videos dominating the For You (FYP) pages.
The latest trend is to encourage an overemphasis on the physical traits of young women (mainly) that would never have been thought twice.
A body scan is the pursuit of reassurance and information about the size, appearance, or appearance of a particular body or object.
The videos appear in myriad ways – some trends and sounds actively encourage TikTok users to reveal their weight and focus on their body shape, while others see people accentuating certain areas of the body with filters and baggy clothing.
Attracting millions of views, they are often met with comments like “I’m not hungry anymore” or “I’m skipping dinner” – raising a red flag about the platform’s role in perpetuating and propagating pro-anorexia (pro-ana) and disordered eating content.
One TikTok user, CJ, wrote, “Why do we describe the trends here as straight body scans that glorify naturally slender/attractive bodies” in the video It has more than 28.2 thousand likes and 228 thousand views.
While it’s “normal” to be aware of our bodies, The Butterfly Foundation’s head of communications and engagement, Melissa Wilton, told news.com.au that a body scan “can be worrisome behavior if it becomes obsessive or compulsive.”
“This could be repetitive weighing, checking one’s appearance in a mirror or reflective surfaces such as windows, pressing folds of skin, feeling for bones, or checking the circumference of body parts such as the wrists, waist or thighs,” she explained.
“Body examination may also be problematic if it interferes with an individual’s ability to function daily, becomes a means of controlling fear or anxiety, causes social isolation, elicits negative emotions, or leads the individual to engage in disordered eating behaviors in an attempt to change their bodies “.
Devaney Sparrow, who has more than 80,000 followers on TikTok and has been recovering from disordered eating over the past few years, said they found several videos on the app running.
“Disordered eating always lurks in the shadows of yourself, waiting for the perfect moment to reach you,” They told Nylon.
“Videos like this are exactly that perfect moment. When people check their bodies, show how much they are eating, or the duration and intensity of their workouts, it is very harmful.”
No doubt Tumblr users during the 2010s will remember, amidst memes and “artistic” black and white photography, the fascination of disorderly eating, the proliferation of pro-ana content and the annoying fixation on the gaps of thighs and collarbones that once pervaded the catwalk.
By comparison, TikTok does not officially allow videos that promote or glorify eating disorders. But the nature of pro-ego content is that it often hides in plain sight – disguised as “thinspo” tips or health trends that promote a “healthier life,” meaning teens may be exposed to it without realizing they are headed down a dangerous, rabbit hole Arithmetic.
Body scan videos on the platform are often not explicitly tagged, so it’s impossible to count the exact number – with the likes of #jawlinecheck, #smallwaist and #sideprofile alone attracting millions of views.
“The main difference is how secretive TikTok is compared to Tumblr,” Sparrow noted.
“Everything is masked as wellness or good health. It is much more difficult to distinguish between what takes care of my body and what an eating disorder I have while trying to crawl into my world.”
Ms Welton agreed, acknowledging that “while the landscape has certainly evolved from the overt ‘pro-eating disorder’ movements seen on Tumblr…[the body checking trend] It can remain a warning sign of body image concern or can lead to an eating disorder in those at risk.”
“Content also often promotes unattainable beauty and ideals of appearance, and this can be seen clearly in the direction of body examination,” she added.
“When these videos become popular on social media, they also send the message that our appearance is the most valuable thing to us.
“They can also serve as ‘inspiration’ to the body or incite comparison and shame among users, if their body shape is not actively praised.”
The fact that TikTok is best known as the youth social platform – with about 60 percent of its users being Generation Z – makes the question of any content that encourages disordered eating particularly worrisome.
It seems no coincidence that as more time is spent by teens on the Internet, so do eating disorder rates; Approximately one million Australians suffer from eating disorders in any given year, equivalent to four per cent of the population.
“Ultimately, social media has provided a platform to run these issues online, 24/7, and social media organizations have a level of responsibility to keep users safe and protect them from unhelpful content that may contribute to negative body image or food intake,” she said. Mrs. Wilton.
But, “to ensure that these trends and issues disappear offline, we first need to confront them in the broader community.”
“The stigma of weight, fat phobia, appearance-based harassment, and diet culture all existed off the internet, and I did it before social media,” she said.
“Until we address these issues at scale in the community, we will likely continue to see them pop up online.”
We live it long-term with the likes of TikTok, Ms. Wilton said, “so it is imperative that individuals are equipped with strong social media literacy skills to be able to navigate these platforms in a positive way.”
“Comparing yourself to the ideal and hard-to-reach body types in many of these videos can make an individual feel guilty or ashamed because their body is incompatible,” she said.
“Recognizing that a lot of the content shared on social media is a carefully curated and edited ‘highlight reel’, and not a true depiction of someone’s everyday reality, can be helpful.”
Ms Wilton also suggested diversifying your social media feed “to include bodies of all shapes and sizes”, and making use of the “mute”, “block” or “report” buttons “if content is disturbing, provocative or even brings negative emotions”.
If someone finds they ‘check their body’ too often, or if they are unable to stop the behaviour, or if they are concerned about its relationship to their appearance, food or exercise, it is important to seek professional support as soon as you think something might be wrong. be wrong.”
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