The Thomas Theorem states that if individuals define situations as real, they are real in their consequences. What this means is that people’s behavior can be determined by their subjective construction of reality rather than by objective reality. There are many ways to illustrate this concept. In the recorded lecture for this chapter, l argued that when a person yells fire in a theater it will cause panic whether a fire exists or not. The panic in this case is caused by a subjective construction of reality (somebody yelling fire) rather than an objective reality (an actual fire). Similarly, if somebody were to consistently watch news reports featuring violent crimes, they may go out and purchase an alarm system, iron bars for their windows, a large pit bull, and a weapon to protect themselves because they think that they may be a victim of violent crime. Violent crime may actually be decreasing in their city or neighborhood, but to them it doesn’t matter because their behavior has been shaped by a subjective construction of reality (news reports that focus on violent crimes) rather than objective reality (decreasing violent crime rates). What are some other social situations where people act a certain way based on a subjective construction of reality rather than objective reality?



Sample Answer

Sample Answer



The Influence of Social Media on Body Image Perception

Thesis Statement

In today’s digital age, the pervasive use of social media platforms has led individuals to construct subjective realities regarding body image, often leading to detrimental behaviors and attitudes towards oneself.


Social media has become an integral part of daily life for many people worldwide. The constant exposure to carefully curated images and messages on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok has a significant impact on how individuals perceive themselves and others. The Thomas Theorem, which posits that subjective interpretations of reality shape behavior, is particularly evident in the realm of body image perception influenced by social media.

The Influence of Social Media on Body Image

Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Social media platforms are flooded with images of influencers and celebrities showcasing flawless bodies, often enhanced through editing tools and filters. These images create an unrealistic standard of beauty that individuals feel pressured to conform to, leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Comparison Culture

Individuals often engage in constant comparison with others on social media, measuring their own worth based on the number of likes, comments, or followers they have. This comparison culture fosters a sense of competition and can exacerbate feelings of insecurity and self-doubt.

Promotion of Fad Diets and Unrealistic Fitness Routines

Many social media influencers promote fad diets and extreme fitness routines as a means to achieve the “ideal” body shape. These unrealistic and often unhealthy practices can lead individuals to develop disordered eating habits or excessive exercise patterns in pursuit of an unattainable goal.

Consequences of Subjective Construction of Reality

Body Dissatisfaction and Low Self-Esteem

Constant exposure to idealized body images on social media can contribute to body dissatisfaction and a negative self-image. Individuals may develop unrealistic expectations for their own bodies, leading to feelings of inadequacy and poor self-esteem.

Mental Health Implications

The pressure to meet societal beauty standards perpetuated by social media can have detrimental effects on mental health. Research has shown a correlation between excessive social media use and conditions such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Impact on Relationships

The subjective construction of reality regarding body image on social media can also impact interpersonal relationships. Comparison with others and feelings of inadequacy may lead to jealousy, resentment, and conflicts within relationships.


In conclusion, the Thomas Theorem’s assertion that subjective constructions of reality influence behavior is exemplified in the realm of body image perception shaped by social media. It is crucial for individuals to critically evaluate the content they consume on social media platforms and prioritize self-compassion and self-acceptance over unrealistic beauty standards. By recognizing the impact of subjective realities on behavior, individuals can strive for a healthier relationship with their bodies and foster positive self-image.




This question has been answered.

Get Answer