World

Freedom Trash Can: Social media

Social media image
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Almost half the people in the world now use social media - from major US companies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to the huge Asian brands of Weibo, WeChat and KakaoStory.

In western and northern Europe, more than nine out of 10 people say they are on at least one social media network.

But comparing our lives with friends and celebrities may be making us miserable.

Research suggests heavy users of social media are more likely to report poor mental health, including anxiety and depression.

Young women in particular say that social media makes them feel more conscious of how they look. A survey by Girlguiding found that 59% of girls aged 11 to 21 say that social media is one of the main causes of stress among girls in their age group.

Select an object from the list and find out how it might be considered an object of oppression.

  • Make-up

    "Men aren't judged for leaving the house without a full face of make-up." - Anonymous

    Read more about Make-up
  • Uncomfortable fashion

    "I cannot fathom why people wear heels. They're painful, impractical and can cause permanent damage to your body." - Anonymous

    Read more about Uncomfortable fashion
  • Home cooking

    "I'm fed up of the idea of women belonging in the kitchen being normalised." - Emma

    Read more about Home cooking
  • Domestic chores

    "Equality begins in the family, so get off your backside and get cleaning, guys." - Anonymous

    Read more about Domestic chores
  • The bra

    "I shouldn't be forced to look 'pretty'. I am beautiful and intelligent without it." - Lisa

    Read more about The bra
  • Celebrity culture

    "All the models have the same body shape, and they look miserable. It's boring!" - Wendy

    Read more about Celebrity culture
  • Marriage

    "I believe engagement rings are anti-feminist - signifying that the woman with the ring belongs to another person." - Matilde

    Read more about Marriage
  • Social media

    "It's very toxic for young people's mental health, especially girls. They are constantly faced with unrealistic and dangerous ideals." - Roshan

    Read more about Social media
  • Gendered toys

    "All the gendered children's toys tell girls and boys they should only like certain things." - Anna

    Read more about Gendered toys
  • Bonus object

    What are objects of oppression? Discover the thinking behind the Freedom Trash Can and suggest your own object.

    Read more about Bonus object

At the same time, others point out the positive aspects of social media. People say it gives them a way to express themselves and can help isolated people find emotional support.

It has also allowed social campaigns to increase their impact.

The #MeToo movement, which has allowed many women to talk about sexual assault and harassment, was a protest that was amplified on social media.

It became an international talking point last year when women began sharing their stories online.

Pick another object to explore