Social Media

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Consumer culture effects many aspects of everyone’s lives and on social media, the influence can have a lot of power over its users. 
The images people choose 
to represent themselves are constantly changing as shifts in pop culture and fashion 
And with new editing software, images are now being heavily altered. “With social media and profiles we create through social media we can present a very controlled image of ourselves to others,” sociology professor Adam Rafalovich said. Models of various gender identities who have been airbrushed and processed through Photoshop are shown to society on a daily basis. The images are reinforced in advertisements and through social media platforms “Where body image comes into play is when a person 
sees these representations of other people that don’t match what their actual body looks like,” Rafalovich said. “I think that’s when people can become despondent.” Control over a person’s image was much easier to maintain before the age of social media. Camera phones are everywhere and can be used to subvert someone’s controlled image. 
Memes are a recent development within the social media frame. And while some are for fun, some are used for shaming people for various reasons, body image being one of them. “Another thing that happens with thatis that memes 
will get circulated oFacebookwhere a person
has shamed another person.” Rafalovich said. 
Dani Mather’s, a Playboy Playmate, secretly 
photographed a woman showering in an L.A. Fitness 
locker room and shamed the woman about her body on social media. 
This was met with blowback from the online community and Mathers was also banned from all L.A. Fitness gyms. The victim’s controlled image on social media whether she was an active participant or not, was taken away. “The people who are close to me in my life post things all the time about me and I don’t follow what the hell is going on.” sociology professor Jay Cee Whitehead said. “So someone will come up to [me] in regular conversation [and] be like: ‘Hey, I heard you bought a house.”’ Whitehead is not an avid social media user, but she actively tries to understand 
Her choice to not be active in social media is an element of control over her life that is compromised by a platform that seems to leave no one completely unaffected. “So that kind of impacts my own self-image and my own ability to feel like I am in 
control of the presentation of self,” Whitehead said. We often put our best faces forward relative to the places or situations in which we find ourselves. 
Whether someone is in a job interview, a day at the office, at a party or in a classroom, will depend on how they represent themselves. “Before social media, it’s that physical distance that made it more possible for me to have like: this is me in this social context, this is me in this context,” Whitehead said. “And be able to have those roles without having them consolidate or coalesce into one.” With the creation and the growth of social media, people’s lives as social creatures has shifted and changed. The controls over privacy,self-image and the details of our lives can become subjected to a physical world that socializes in a digital playground.

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