Social Media, Personality and Identity Construction (Weekly Assignment #2)

#bodyimage #microcelebrity #onlinesuccess #onlinefailure #socialmedia

Social Media Effects on Young Women’s Body Image Concerns

Richard M. Perloff wrote an article about the effects of social media on young women’s body image concerns, mainly focusing on the adolescent girls and young adult women. The author pointed that too little theory-driven research have been conducted this topic. This paper also articulated ideas and a framework to guide other researches on this concern.

The article described the attributes of modern social media and their applications to appearance focused social media features. As the user are both sources and receivers, it creates a high level of interactivity.

It also introduced a model describing the social influences on body images and eating disorder. It articulated the potential impacts of social media on perception and affect, with a focus on the hypothesized effects of internet and social media on eating disorders and the process.


Furthermore, the article also talked about the potential social media effects on men and women from different ethnic groups, as the previous examples were mostly focused on Caucasian women in the western culture.

Finally, the author expressed that social media is where today’s youths learn information, form attitudes, and cultivate body image concerns. He believes that researches guided by the theory presented in this study are needed to show the process and effects of social media on girls and young women.

He emphasize the need to generate strategies to help people of different ethnicity to adopt healthier attitudes toward their bodies, and that we should start acting rather sooner.

Examples of success and failures of social media use in relation to personality and identity construction

Example of success:
Candace Payne (Chewbacca Mask Lady)

Candance Payne is an American mom who bought a Chewbacca Mask and filmed herself in the car which brought her a lot of social media success. She uploaded the video the 19th of May 2016. In the video called: it’s the simple joys in life.

Candace is unboxing the mask, and discovering the mask makes a sound. The video got shared over 3 million times liked over 2.9 million times and watched over 162 million times on her Facebook page alone (Payne, 2016). Before this video Candance had around a 1000 likes per post. The video was not only shared on facebook, it surfaced on YouTube where it has over 8 million views (Deak, 2016). Ever since then she has been getting many opportunities to appear on TV shows, like the Late Late Show with James Cordon (2016) where she ‘met’ Chewbacca. She has not only gotten a lot of views, but also a lot of fans. People love her laugh and the video made them extremely happy which can be seen in the comments(Payne, 2016). Marwick (2015) found that micro celebrities are often authentic and attract a niche group of fans. Her online personality can be seen as ‘’the buddy’’ she is authentic, friendly and people identify with her. Candace is currently still very active on facebook, the likes per post have dropped, however she keeps getting a lot of opportunities after her viral video (Payne, n.d.).

Example of failure:
Sam Pepper – YouTube star

Sam Pepper is a reality star and a vlogger who is famous for his prank videos on YouTube. He has over 2 million subscribers and his most popular video has nearly 8 million views. His personality and performances are very over the top and attention seeking and he has crossed the appropriate line more than once. He has been called misogynist, sexist and has also been accused of sexual assault. Also, he is know to do anything to gain attention – forgetting morals and good manners to do so.

The biggest scandals he has caused were with videos that are now already deleted. In one he grabs unaware women’s buttocks on the streets. In another he makes a prank called “killing best friend prank”. On top of the media, the murder prank got the attention of the hacker collective Anonymous that was demanding the video to be taken down.

Pepper’s social media personality is status seeker and a peacock. He will do anything to get attentions and clicks. The apologies he has made publicly could also be seen as an act to maintain his popularity and followers. Despite having a lot of followers and making money of it, Pepper’s social media usage promotes misogynist behavior and states that sexual harassment is funny and ok as long as it is done as a joke. Also while being accused of sexual assault, his videos didn’t really promote his innocence. Anonymous group also is not the best enemy to have as a celebrity. In this way, his social media behavior has also done a lot of harm for himself personally.

Why did Pepper’s failure occur?

According to NewsStatesman (2015) “the internet is still trying to figure out what is acceptable in the realm of humor”.

Competition and fishing for clicks and subscribers can drive the vloggers to do extreme things. The humor that gets attention in internet is often over the top and has a shock-factor in it, so sometimes social media stars end up crossing the line. While pushed to extremes it can easily turn into something nasty. (NewsStatesman, 2015)

Social media stars have the responsibility to decide what is appropriate while still having a possibility to go viral and make money for them. Personal opinion about what is funny is not so personal anymore while millions of viewers are involved. The reason why failures like Pepper’s happen is that the joke has been taken too far. The line of what is appropriate and funny in internet is a somehow a grey area. When you combine that to a desperate need to get clicks and a twisted personal humor of the vlogger, these kind of failures are bound to happen.

Mindmap of Findings:




Deak, J. (2016, May 19). Laughing Chewbacca Mask Lady (full video) [Video file]. Retrieved from

Marwick, A. (in press, 2015). “You May Know Me From YouTube: (Micro)-Celebrity in Social Media.” In A Companion to Celebrity, Marshall, P.D. and Redmond, S., Eds. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Payne, C. (2016, May 19). It’s the simple joys in life… [Facebook post]. Retrieved from

Payne, C. (n.d.). Candace Payne [Facebook fan page]. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from

The Late Late Show With James Cordon. (2016, May 23). chewbacca mom gets a surprise from the real chewbacca [Video file]. Retrieved from

Konbini. (2014). Konbini Snapchat Facebook Twitter Instagram The Internet Strikes Back: YouTube Removes Sam Pepper’s Sexist ‘Prank’. Konbini. Retrieved from

NewStatesman. (2015, December 01). The story of Sam Pepper: how a British YouTuber incurred the wrath of the internet. NewsStatesman. Retrieved from

YouTube. (n.d.). Sam Pepper’s channel. Retrieved from

YouTube. (2014). Sam Pepper’s grabbing bottocks prank. Retrieved from


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