Being a social media obsessed person like I am, I am constantly on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. It has come to my attention that there has been a rise of beauty standards that are unrealistic. Thankfully, I grew up with the mindset of loving my own body. As long as I maintain a balanced diet and prevent diseases that would harm me, I consider myself to be healthy. But I am not going to lie, there are days when I feel like I have to try that detox juice for 3 days straight to rid myself of the bad I consumed during lunch at McDonald’s. Sometimes I feel like I need to try the Flat Tummy Tea the Kardashians advertise on their Instagram all the time.
It’s not just body weight that social media sets to a standard, it’s also how we perceive beauty. Fat shaming memes, skinny comments, Snapchat filters, YouTube make up tutorials, Pinterest salad recipes, etc, are all examples of unrealistic beauty standards set by society.
It is a fact that as a society, we want to conform to the “norm”. By “norm”, I mean definition of beauty set by society. And what better way to conform than following personalities that are on social media? Dove surveyed 1,027 women between the ages of 18 and 64.The results showed that women are more than twice as likely to say that their conception of beauty is shaped by “women in the public domain” and social media (29 percent and 25 percent, respectively) than they were before they entered high school (11 percent and 10 percent, respectively). Public personalities like beauty bloggers have become a source of inspiration for women to achieve their level of “beauty”. But people do not see that beauty bloggers are not certified nutritionists. Registered nutritionists have declared “war on women leading ‘flawed’ clean eating movement”. Beauty bloggers have been known for discouraging consumption of a whole food group for no apparent reason, this includes gluten and dairy. They have brainwashed women into believing that these aren’t clean food and will be the reason for that extra percentage of fat in the body. With this mindset, important nutrients needed could be disregarded and more importantly, it could fuel a rise of anorexia. In fact, its not just women that are affected by the unrealistic beauty standards. Men’s insecurities of their body is not taken very seriously in society. With the people around them posting shirtless selfies on Facebook or women publicly fawning over a male celebrity or model’s body on social media, it will affect ordinary men in some shape or form.
There have definitely been trends that have been going around the internet that is quite concerning. For example, #bellybuttonchallenge or the thigh gap obsession are just forms of thinspiration. The Belly Button Challenge started in the Chinese version of Facebook, Weibo, and has spread out ever since. This challenge forced young girls to prove that they have a nice bodies if their arms can reach their belly button from the back. This has nothing to do with the fitness of the body in fact, this is about flexibility.
This blog aims to tackle and highlight instances when social media sets beauty standards. Has the rise of technology actually influenced our perception of our own body image? Should social media be a reason to blame for the increasing insecurities in men and women of all age? For the next 4 blog posts, I am going to highlight the different social media platforms and how they affect body image. The 4 social media platforms I will be addressing are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and mobile apps.