By Andriana GIOTOPOULOU, EEB4 S6 FRB
Since the rise of social media platforms, most of us, have made use of them to upload photos, communicate with friends and family, and see what other people are doing. According to Eurostat, 87% of people aged between 16 and 29 years old have access to a social network in Europe, as of 2019. The issue is that teenagers are now more preoccupied with gaining more followers, more likes, and comments on photos, than just wanting to share happy moments with their friends.
Why are beauty standards nowadays unrealistic?
Influencers and celebrities often use social media platforms, such as Instagram and Tiktok, to share their daily lives and pictures or videos of themselves, with friends and family. However, they do not always portray reality. The truth is that most people edit their photos using FaceTune or Photoshop, to feel better about themselves. This can sadly lead to younger users developing mental health issues such as body dysmorphia and insecurities about their skin and body. This is due to unrealistic beauty standards created by the habit of altering the way we look.
The impact of editing on our daily lives
I was having a conversation with my friends about this subject the other day, and I realised how much impact editing and filters have on our lives. It has indeed become a habit to swipe to add a filter on every photo we take on Instagram. We have become so used to seeing a version of ourselves that is far from reality, that when we finally look at the mirror, we cannot accept ourselves the way we truly are. This mentality is even more harmful when it comes to younger users aged 10-14, who are going through puberty and might feel bad about their acne, body hair, or other features of this process.
Furthermore, the pressure these pre-teens and teens face on a daily basis, causes them to grow up faster and miss out on the years of childhood they still have in front of them. This occurs because they feel the need to change their appearance to fit into a mold that society creates, by wearing makeup and wearing mature clothing at a young age.
Starting to embrace our flaws
As Christina Aguilera once said in her song “Beautiful”, “We are beautiful in every single way” and we should never doubt that. Many artists and social media influencers find creative ways to embrace their flaws and to empower their followers. Songs like “Who says” by Selena Gomez and “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo do not only have the power to make us move our feet to them but they also possess the ability to boost our confidence. Another way influencers decide to embrace their “so-called” flaws is by posting un-edited photos of themselves on their accounts.
A truly inspiring example is Demi Lovato, who recently uploaded a picture of herself glorifying her stretch marks by putting glitter paint on them. She expresses how grateful she is for her eating disorder recovery and explains that she decided to take these photos to celebrate her flaws.This picture is beautiful and I believe has spoken to a majority of her followers, making them more accepting of their own insecurities. The comments under this post are filled with people expressing their admiration by saying how much they look up to her and how much her post has helped them.
What can we change in our mentality?
I realize that changing our viewpoint can be complicated and take time, but there are a few things that we should keep in mind. Firstly, we should stop comparing ourselves with other people, especially with celebrities, since, as I mentioned previously, most of them edit their photos. On top of which, unlike them, we have not finished going through puberty yet, and it is absolutely normal that we do not have the same skin or body as them. This is the most common piece of advice people give when explaining how to increase self-esteem, but it is also the most difficult one to apply.
Another way to practice Self-Love, that my friends and I enjoy doing, is affirmations. Affirmations are statements that you can repeat daily to overcome negative thoughts, such as insecurities and negative emotions. Here are some examples of Affirmations to help with Self-Esteem:
- I accept myself for who I am
- I am worthy
- I love myself and treat myself with kindness
- I only compare myself to myself
- My imperfections make me beautiful.
Lastly, my favorite way to boost my confidence is to listen to empowering songs and sing my heart out, at the top of my lungs. Here is a playlist to jam out to, just in case you don’t want to make one yourself.
Sources: Photo from Demi Lovato’s Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/p/CJM_ZtQBgyb/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link )