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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Discussing Social Media Impact on Body Image


Discussing Social Media Impact on Body Image

Loyola’s Counseling Center held an open dialogue on Feb. 24, labeled “Discussing Body Image.” The event opened a conversation in the Loyola community about the detrimental effects social media can have on body image, while highlighting steps both individuals and communities can take to help combat these issues. 

The event was held during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDA), Feb. 21 – Feb. 27, 2022. NEDA is an annual campaign designed to educate the public about the realities of eating disorders. 

Elizabeth Foote is a primary therapist at The Renfrew Center of Maryland and is working to promote NEDA. The Renfrew Center is an outpatient facility specializing in the treatment of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating, as well as the full range of eating disorders. They work to reinforce a sense of community by helping patients recognize shared themes and struggles. 

The Renfrew Center’s website states:

“The development of self-worth, a strong sense of identity, the capacity for pleasure, and the ability to connect emotionally to one’s self and others are all linked to body acceptance.”

The Center has a variety of sources available online, including a free consultation with a program information specialist who can help individuals determine if they would benefit from a clinical assessment. Additionally, they have several free online quizzes including, “The Body Quiz,” “The Food Quiz,” and “The Emotion Quiz,” to see if your thoughts and behaviors may be of concern.

Foote joined the Loyola Counseling Center to hold this event, asserting that social media can lead individuals down a road of comparison while serving content that fuels anxiety, body image concerns, and fixation on weight and eating habits. Roughly ten students attended the event, creating a close-knit environment for individuals to engage in open discussion.

Foote said, “I think it’s really important for people to know that you don’t have to subscribe to what messages you’re seeing on your curated feed. There is the possibility for you to change the way you think about yourself and change the way you relate to food and your body.”

Students were given the opportunity to talk amongst peers about how social media makes them feel about themselves.

Olivia Huss ‘22 said:

“I found the lecture to be extremely eye opening. The speakers created a welcoming environment which allowed me to feel comfortable participating in discussion and made me realize that I am not alone.”

Everyone was given the opportunity to share personal experiences about mental health, anxiety, body image, and eating habits. Discussion arose regarding the different ways college students engage with social media and the way they see themselves and treat themselves.

“I thought it was very therapeutic. It helped me realize that there are ways to improve body image rather than attempting to reach unrealistic beauty standards. You can go out of your comfort zone, find support, and step away from harmful media platforms,” said Kaitlyn Harold ‘22.

Visit or call 1-800-RENFREW (736-3739) for more information on eating disorders.

Photo Image courtesy of Burst

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