Fuel for Freedom is a project to raise awareness about the dangers of eating disorders through social media, and to offer support toward achieving freedom from media images, stigmas, stereotypes, and everything else that holds us back from body acceptance.
This blog is an extension of a college Honors Capstone project.
“In a society driven by the Internet and social media, messages constantly bombard us. For young adults in particular, the allure of social media contributes to stigmas and stereotypes as adolescents adopt popular opinions instead of forming their own ideas. Others tell us how we should act, what we should eat, and what clothes we should wear. Since our lives are on display more than ever, we feel the pressure to act according to this ‘perfect’ image.
Today, people’s health is often in the spotlight. Although exercise and proper eating are generally beneficial, the emphasis on weight loss, diets, and other ‘healthy’ actions can contribute to adolescent eating disorders. Social media fuels the need to seek validation from peers through Facebook or Twitter. Even Pinterest and Instagram feature images that promote “thinspooration” or “fitspooration,” which can make us feel as though we have to look like those bodies in order to be fit or successful.
The first step to combat young adults’ disordered eating is to seek freedom from negative messages by controlling how we use social media. For those of us dealing with a disorder, we can find comfort and support from others. For others, we can become properly informed and erase the stigma associated with such illnesses. Perhaps we can realize that we should love who we are as individuals, rather than judging our worth on society’s unattainable notions. Hopefully this blog offer findings as I research young adults’ eating disorders that spark your own insights as well.
Together, we can make a positive online community filled with stories and images of recovery, knowledge, positivity, and encouragement. Not only will doing so help raise proper awareness regarding eating disorders, but it will also turn social media into a medium we control—not the other way around.
We all deserve to be heard. So, what are you waiting for?”