Muscle dysmorphia: Men are also struggling with unrealistic beauty standards

On social media, videos of sports trainers and fitness influencers are flooding the news on TikTok and Instagram, promoting a muscular and toned physique.

The famous “beauty” filters, which have already caused a stir, are once again the focus of controversy. But this time it’s about its effect on young men.

The use of filters on social networks such as TikTok, Instagram and even Snapchat could exacerbate muscle dysmorphia in young growing adolescents, according to research conducted by the University of Toronto among 912 Canadian adolescents and young adults.

According to the study, boys were more affected by this phenomenon than girls, who experienced other forms of dysmorphia related to photographic filters on social networks.

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“Muscle dysmorphia symptomatology is most common among boys and men, including more than 25% of boys and young men in a Canadian community sample exhibiting clinically relevant symptoms,” the study reads.

Professionals consider muscle dysmorphia a mental disorder.

Affected individuals are overly concerned with their appearance and focus on their muscular build, which they desire to be “perfect” or consider inadequate. These unattainable expectations can be fueled by unrealistically manipulated photographs on social platforms.

The effects of photographic manipulation.

The researchers who worked on this study point out that edited and retouched images and other content on social networks contribute to this situation.

Filters on social media create unrealistic expectations about physical appearance, which can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of young men.

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According to the study’s lead author, Kyle T Ganson, it was clear that frequent use of photographic filters is associated with higher levels of muscle dissatisfaction and overall symptoms of muscle dysmorphia.

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The researchers also noted gender differences in the effects of using photographic filters.

Boys and men who used photo filters showed “a greater drive to increase their muscularity and social and occupational functioning challenges” compared to the girls and women in the study.

“Our study sheds light on the often overlooked impact of using photographic filters on muscle dysmorphia, especially among boys and men. As digital image manipulation becomes more advanced and widespread, it is essential to understand and mitigate its potential damage to body image and mental health,” concludes Ganson, quoted in a press release.

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