There is a fantastic scene in the groundbreaking film Mean Girls (one of the last good films with Lindsay Lohan in it, as far as I am concerned) in which the characters are all looking in the mirror and criticizing themselves. Lindsay Lohan’s character, having lived in South Africa until that year, thinks to herself that she was only aware of girls being fat or thin and didn’t realize how many things could be wrong with someone as her schoolmates criticize their hairline, pore size, and bad breath. There is a whole new monster that has reared its ugly head in the world of self hate and its name is Facebook.
Specifically, the problem of poor body issue that comes about as a direct result of scrutinizing photos of ourselves and our friends (the relatively new Timeline feature makes looking at your life in digital photographs so much easier) and seeing how we have gained weight, lost weight, and generally look better or worse now than we looked then, or better or worse than this person or that person. A survey conducted by the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt concluded that as many as seventy-five percent of Facebook users were generally unhappy with their body, something that they attributed to the constant stream of new updates from friends and family that invite a person with the right mentality to think long and hard about where they have gone wrong in terms of their own body.
There is, of course, a cure for this ailment although it is not an easy one nor one which people will be lining up to take. It is proactive involvement in the approach that a person takes to how they use their own Facebook account. For example, a person might look up a former girlfriend “just to see how they are doing” and end up spending an hour looking at photos from their ex-girlfriend’s life that did not involve them at all and getting quite sad that their own lives did not turn out a different way. Rather than do this, the same person might consider taking said proactive involvement and using Facebook to see how their actual friends are doing and not to dredge up their past.
Of course, the other alternative is to just delete your Facebook account if you are too concerned about your Facebook usage. This might seem extreme but for some it may be the only answer.