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Negative Reflections – How Social Media Affects Body Image Satisfaction in Irish Females

Behan, Emma (2015) Negative Reflections – How Social Media Affects Body Image Satisfaction in Irish Females. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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The exponential growth of social media in the last number of years means it has surpassed its original purpose of representing a network of communication channels. Social media has transformed itself to a platform that provides a multitude of opportunities such as the facilitation of promotion, brand engagement and information sources. It can be said that social networking has become an ingrained part of everyday life for individuals young and old, every day people are exposed to a multitude of images via social media. These images often depict women portraying the ‘ideal beauty’ however this ‘ideal beauty’ is unrealistic due to photo shopping and online ‘filters’.

This study seeks to investigate the affect social media can have on Irish female body image satisfaction and how Irish females ultimately perceive themselves. Particular attention is given to social networking sites and how engagement with platforms such as Facebook and Instagram can evoke feelings of envy and body image dissatisfaction. Whilst there has been a myriad of literature surrounding how traditional advertising can affect female body image satisfaction, this study seeks to fill gaps in the literature by exploring the phenomena through a digital context and from an Irish female perspective.

A qualitative method in the form of in-depth interviews was chosen in order to gain a deeper insight into the study. Six Irish females aged between 18 and 25 were interviewed, thematic coding was used in order to extract themes relevant to the research objective. Phenomenology influences were also used throughout the interview process in order to focus on exploring the women’s lived experiences with social media. Upon analysing the themes presented from the interview process, it was found that the women felt negative body image satisfaction when viewing images online through Facebook and Instagram. These negative feelings were predominantly as a result of upward social comparison engagement, it was also found that the social comparison process varied depending on what social networking platform the women were using.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Body image
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4150 Computer Network Resources > The Internet > World Wide Web > Websites > Online social networks
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering > Telecommunications > The Internet > World Wide Web > Websites > Online social networks
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Science in Marketing
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2015 14:56
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2015 14:57

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