Unrealistic social media images leave women feeling inadequate, study claims

More than six in 10 women feel inadequate after seeing images of slim, toned women on social media, research has suggested.

A new poll of 1,962 women for Sport England for their This Girl Can campaign (pictured) found that 63% felt the images had a negative impact on them.

Of the 15% who follow fitness influencers, almost a quarter say they make them feel bad about themselves and only around one in five find influencers relatable.

Almost a third of all women said they would also like to see women on social media exercising without make-up while a fifth think they should post about sweating and others want to hear about periods or the menopause.

Lisa O’Keefe, director of insight at Sport England, said: “This Girl Can is about helping women feel confident so they can overcome the fears about being judged that our research showed was stopping many from getting active.

“Since we launched five years ago, we’re seeing more relatable images in advertising and social media, but there’s a long way to go until women’s lives are being shown in a realistic way.

“We’ve designed new adverts to show things we’re still not seeing – women using exercise to manage period symptoms or juggling motherhood – all while celebrating women of all shapes, sizes, abilities and backgrounds.”

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