While the way we understand body image is changing, our language is not. If we’re to look at one of the positive aspects of social media, it’s people are talking more openly about body image.

Influencers with large followings are beginning to open up the conversation about embracing your body, no matter what size or shape you are. Although we’re in the early stages, we’re starting to deconstruct the concept of the perfect body.

We’ve come a long way from a time when adverts asking whether our “summer body is ready’ were deemed ok for London underground.

Although changes in social media posts show we’re moving forwards, there’s also proof we have a long way to go. I still see captions stating ‘naughty food’ or ‘treat food’. The intention may be harmless but it creates a sense of shame when indulging in those types of food.

Other examples I’ve seen include people enjoying food on holiday with ‘diet needed after this’ or ‘need a return to the gym’. We associate satisfying ourselves with food as a backwards action when it signifies a balanced and normal lifestyle.


Captions like these juxtapose with the idea we should enjoy nice food and drink. Instead, they suggest we should only eat what we enjoy in moderation or as a ‘treat’. Worse are the posts that highlight how many calories ‘we need to’ burn off to indulge in food. The answer is none. We should be able to fulfil ourselves without an Instagram post suggesting 100 star jumps before a Kit Kat.

Hating our bodies is something we learn but should be something society strives to unlearn. Product labels also contribute to the way we perceive dieting culture.

Celebrities advertise ‘guilt-free’ spreads and ‘slimming juice’ as part of their ‘weight-loss journeys’. They only give false hope these products alone will help a person drop an unhealthy amount of weight, quickly.

Unsafe body image concept

They also grab the attention of young adults and teenagers, which is an unsafe concept when it comes to creating an image or goal of what a person feels they should look like.

What a post like that hides from its audience is a celebrity’s specialist diet or glam team has worked on it. Another example is the ‘flat tummy tea’. This not only fuses what we consume with what we should look like but suggests we should supress our cravings to feel good about ourselves.

Essentially, the product is asking us to ignore our bodies when we should be doing the opposite. A craving shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. It is a message from our bodies, one we should be able to listen to without shame.


Adele has been at the centre of the media storm, with the singer’s weight-loss the topic of many headlines. Older pictures of Adele have been juxtaposed with images of how she looks now, accompanied by captions such as “she did that”.

It’s clear Adele has undergone a transformation but labelling it as her ‘achievement’ has come to overshadow her 15 Grammy awards. With Adele’s transformation labelled a ‘glow up’, it’s clear we haven’t changed our language at all. It suggests the way Adele looked previously was wrong.

By focusing on Adele’s body, the current generation are being taught a person’s worth is measured by their appearance, not their talent. Not only could talking about Adele’s weight loss affect her own thoughts, it may also make people think about their own weight. By focusing on the ‘new Adele’, headlines suggest only some bodies are worthy of respect.

Language leads us to believe there’s a ‘perfect body’. However, the reality of the concept is it was created to sell fake products and false ‘truths’.

Society and language conducts us to believe we should love a body, where in fact we should love our own. Where knowledge and understanding of different body types is being updated, our language is not. To create change and openness, we should choose our words carefully.

Related Topics