By Shannon Walsh
The constant flow of images that society deems “perfect” is mentally exhausting. It should not be normal to scroll through your phone every day and see photoshopped, edited, and fake images of celebrities, social media influencers, and friends. These images create false expectations and a beauty standard that is specific to few bodies.
Social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and several others are catalysts for body image issues among all people. These apps all have specific filters that are meant to make users look different. In particular, the video app Tiktok has a filter called the “beauty filter” that manipulates the video to show your face with clear skin and no blemishes. Viewing this constant flow of images and videos with “perfect” skin, faces, and bodies is not realistic. Social media is a direct representation of society’s unrealistic beauty standards.
Several celebrities have spoken up on social media regarding unrealistic body standards. Although many perceive celebrities to be perfect people who have perfect lives, that is not true. Famous singer and actor Selena Gomez is a body-image activist. Last March, she posted a picture on Instagram for the first time since her kidney transplant wearing a bikini while hanging out on a yacht with friends. The trolls on social media bullied her and slammed her for looking curvier. She replied graciously, writing, "The beauty myth - an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern women in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty. I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone. Wind in her sails."
There are, of course, positives to social media, such as when people promote uplifting stories or support social causes. However, the dark side of social media tends to prevail. Demeaning comments can be detrimental to someone’s self-esteem. Whether it is outside criticism, or internal judgement of one’s self, social media is a strong influence.
Luckily, there are ways to help remove the negativity from your social media stream. Unfollowing certain accounts that you know are not good for your mental health is beneficial. Additionally, it is important to use apps and follow influencers who discuss body positivity and show their true authentic selves. Furthermore, as a social media user, you must always spread kindness and positivity to uplift others.
Social media mainly focuses on one’s physical appearance. Blemishes, scars, acne, cellulite, etc. are all factors of what make us who we are. We all must remember that everybody and every body is beautiful.