Social networks and mental health: teenage girls tangled


Several risks lie in wait for teenage girls who use social networks regularly, including damage to their emotional stability and self-esteem precisely when they are going through a vital stage in their lives when they are most vulnerable. The psychic processes involved in the consolidation of life narcissism and in the post-edipal configuration of female subjectivity can become entangled in the traps of virtualisation.

social networks, public-private, teenage feminine subjectivity, gender norms, specular alienation, virtualisation and psychological life

[Automatic translation from Spanish]:

The main trigger for this article is based on a video posted on Tik Tok in January 2022. In this video, a very young model —well known fashion influencer—, shows its fans/spectators everything they have to do before they put into the photo session for a clothing advertisement. These are large-sized pieces designed for overweight women. The model is seen by placing huge foam fillings, lined with an elastic flesh-colored tissue, in specific areas of its body: breasts, abdomen and hips. There are fifteen seconds of very precise contortions: each filling must be well placed and well held under the dress, so that when presented with XXL-size clothing it appears that its body corresponds to its facial physiognomy.

The purpose of the thin and young model is to denounce the abusive and unscrupulous practices that the fashion industry imposes on its employees. These have been chosen according to the canons established and perpetuated over time, and continue to maintain stereotypes of femininity according to the sexist gender mandates. In any case, it should not be futile that the «Fashion empire» (De la Puente-Herrera, I. 2011) has been consolidated as one of the largest niches in globally business —is interesting the word niche—.

Like every empire, business objectives are clear: that future buyers of large sizes —with any age— they can find on the face of a young girl and a thin neck, whatever moves them to buy their dress. The encouragement —or false lure— is in the service of promoting the achievement of their longing with the pieces advertised. The tricky message encourages one to consider something like this: goods (the dress) involve youth, beauty and thinness. One might even think that if three wishes are achieved in one, it is a bargain! […]

Regina Bayo-Borràs
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