‘Perfection can never be met’

Christel Deskins

Little Mix have opened up about the impact social media can have on body image and mental health. In a new interview with the Evening Standard, the British girl group discussed how social media feeds into the need to always look “perfect” and how it affects their mental health. “It’s […]

Little Mix have opened up about the impact social media can have on body image and mental health.

In a new interview with the Evening Standard, the British girl group discussed how social media feeds into the need to always look “perfect” and how it affects their mental health.

“It’s quite damaging really,” Jade Thirlwall said. “There’s this constant strive for perfection which will never truly be met, so what do we do?! It’s taken quite a few years for all of us to properly feel comfortable in our own skin because society tries to condition us to make us believe that we have to look a certain way in order to be beautiful, which is so untrue.

“It’s learning to distance what is reality and what isn’t.”

Perrie Edwards agreed, stating that she tries to prevent feelings of inferiority by taking time away from social media every so often.

“I think it’s healthy to stay away from Instagram every now and again,” she said. “Especially when you’re stuck indoors, you can spend hours and hours scrolling and getting stuck down this deep hole of feeling inferior to other people.

“Isn’t it weird how you can be feeling amazing about yourself and then you go on social media and just compare, compare, compare? And you start thinking I’m not like that!”

Leigh-Anne Pinnock added: “You just need a break. It’s sometimes too much, isn’t it? It can be so toxic and you honestly need to take time out for yourself.”

The band members also spoke about cyber bullying and how they cope with negativity from online trolls.

Jesy Nelson, who opened up about struggling with bullying in the BBC documentary Odd One Out last year, said: “Online can be quite a negative place so I think to always be kind is important.

“Kill them with kindness, that’s what I like to do!”

Edwards added that the group has “grown a thick skin” over the years but that she worries about the impact online bullying has on the younger generation.

“We’re late 20s, we’ve been in the industry for a while, we’re women and now can you imagine how a 14-year-old feels?” she said. “When they get back from school and they get s*** online and on social media? We’ve grown a thick skin so we can get over it now, but imagine being a bairn (Scottish word for child) and experiencing that?

“When we were young, you’d leave school and go and play out with your friends, whereas now you leave school and go on social media. You can’t escape it.”

Thirlwall added that all of the band members have experienced bullying in some form which is why they strive to spread a message of positivity.

“Especially as four girls, I think that’s really important to show that sense of solidarity to other women,” she said.

A recent study, conducted by the University of Warwick, found that social media is a key factor in mental health problems that make teenage girls more likely to self-harm than boys.

Speaking of the findings, Dimitra Hartas, the report’s lead author, said: “Social media can also make girls more competitive and feel inadequate. It can create the idea other people have wonderful or better lives. There is also the issue of the early sexualisation of girls and the notion of the perfect body.”

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