A quick scroll on social media search of terms like “body positivity” suggests that we are making progress toward greater body diversity and positivity. As a society, we have come a long way since the nonfat, heroin-chic, pro-ana Tumblr days. Or have we?

Diet culture has become much more nuanced making it more subtle, and harder to notice but all the same, still prevalent. New diets such as the Ozempic diet which was intended to help treat diabetes, and can lower blood sugar, and encourage insulin production, have recently gone viral as a weight-loss drug popular in Hollywood. Words such as ‘Pilates body’ and trending styles such as the ‘Ballerina-core’ have negative connotations on body image – raising the question of what is a pilates body even “supposed” to look like.

This rise in the Y2K aesthetic comes alongside a much deeper messaging other than style. It is no coincidence this fresh interest in pursuing a thinner body is spiking at the same time that publications such as the NY Post published an article headlined: “Bye Bye Booty, heroin chic is back”. Young women are swapping Brazilian butt lifts for buccal fat removal in an effort to achieve more defined and pronounced cheekbones.

While all this is happening, we are happy to see the increase in body positivity, not just in fashion campaigns but also on social media with more influencers sharing body-positive, unedited content. In fact, research, co-authored by Dr. Fardouly, found brief exposure to such content on Instagram improved women’s body satisfaction and mood.

“We see this strategy as a micro-intervention—a small change we can make to improve people’s experiences on social media and how they feel about themselves in everyday life,” Dr. Fardouly says. “In the current study, just one post a day was potentially enough to induce positive effects. More exposure may be even more effective.”