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Examining the influence of social media on body image: Miss Perfection, a misperception




Brown, Tina, author
Champ, Joseph, advisor
Switzer, Jamie, committee member
Ogle, Jennifer, committee member

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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the potential influence of social media sites such as pro anorexia and pro bulimia blog sites, in the support or encouragement of eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorders, eating behaviors, and body dissatisfaction in females. Research shows that some women are easily influenced and pressured by social media and many other social influences to achieve the perfect body. Many pro anorexia and pro bulimia blogs contain information on disordered eating and behaviors, offer tips, and connect individuals to others who are struggling or engaging in disordered eating behaviors. This thesis provides insights into the possible reasons many females are engaging in these conversations and using these pro anorexia and pro bulimic blogs. Using the Uses and Gratifications theory to guide the research questions, I examined the ways in which females are engaging in these pro anorexia/pro bulimia blogs by analyzing comments posted on three blogs. It would seem obvious that pro anorexic and pro bulimic blogs would be harmful and influential to young females; however, the results did not support this assumption. Many of the users on these blogs would use these sites for several needs including: emotional and social needs, and to become informed. However, one key need that is often overlooked is the need for support. Many of the users seemed to seek out, contribute and use these sites for emotional and social support.


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