Can Tik Tok Stop Glamorizing Eating Disorders?

There is no doubt in saying that Tik Tok has become one of the most popular apps among teens and young adults within the past year. Tik Tok has about one billion users and the United States brings the app about 80 million users. One of the features that makes the app so appealing to the younger generations is the amount of “Tik Tok trends” that gain popularity. Tik Tok trends give creators a greater chance to get a lot of views, likes, and comments on their videos. Some of these trends include dance routines, making skits to a funny audio, or showing how people make their morning coffee.

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Pexels.com

Although a lot of these trends stem from good intentions, some of them have been viewed as rather controversial. One trend in particular that has been seen as controversial are the “what I eat in a day” videos. Some of these videos are helpful and can help people discover new vegetarian or vegan meals or it can promote others to start eating a healthier diet. But when looking through these videos, there are a fair amount that show people glamorizing and glorifying undereating and partaking in unhealthy habits. I am in no way a licensed nutritionist, but I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy to eat one whole meal a day, and then complete 2 hours of vigorous exercise. Since these videos follow a certain trend, it is not uncommon for them to go viral and make it onto millions of impressionable young peoples For You Page. Young girls, or even young boys, or really people of all ages, will watch these videos and think that it is okay and healthy to be starving themselves, and that it is an appropriate way to lose weight. Just by looking at the comments on some of these videos anyone can see the impacts they are already having. Some comments include “I wish I could eat like this” or “please show more videos like this” and “you are body goals.”

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJP4tHfF/

I am not saying that the creators are to blame here; a lot of the time creators will make videos like these to expose their struggles with eating disorders. The other day I was looking through my Tik Tok and came across a video of a girl crying, and the caption was “starved myself all week and still lost no weight.” I understand that social media can act almost as a form of therapy for some people, and maybe that video was a cry for help. On the other hand, I could not stop thinking about how triggering that video could have been for other people who are recovering from eating disorders, such as anorexia. The phrase “trigger warning” has become a courtesy when discussing sensitive topics on social media platforms. Most of the time, videos like the one mentioned above, rarely have trigger warnings, which can be problematic for those who actively try to avoid those videos. I strongly believe that Tik Tok needs to have stricter guidelines on what type of videos can show up on different peoples’ feed. As a community, Tik Tok needs to do a better job at monitoring the content that is going around, because even if the video is meant as a joke there is never a way to tell who it can negatively impact.

2 thoughts on “Can Tik Tok Stop Glamorizing Eating Disorders?

  1. Great post!!! These types of videos always come up on my FYP and I get self conscious knowing that I eat way more than a girl the same size as me. But in reality, they are promoting very unhealthy eating habits and affecting a huge community. Thanks for shedding some light on this topic.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think people also stage their “what I eat in a day” or “what I do in a day” type videos, too. So it’s possible they don’t even live off of an all-fruit diet, or whatever it might be, and are just flexing (weird flex, but okay). TikTok has a lot of problematic regulatory policies, from what I can tell. Just about everyone with any decent sized following seems to complain about the algorithm, and I know videos talking about BLM were getting “shadowbanned” and hidden from For You Pages. But they let harmful diet depictions stick around??? TikTok has some sorting out to do for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

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