By Lily Collin S5SVA at EEB2
We are constantly surrounded by social media, movies, and series, on various platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Netflix, Disney+, etc. What effects do these actually have on our subconscious?
It may be Friday night after a tiring week, and of course, you get tempted to watch the new romantic comedy that was just released on Netflix. There are the main characters, they meet, they fall in love, there is an obstacle, they overcome the obstacle, and they live happily ever after. What do you need in life other than a good film and some snacks? Nothing! For a moment, you are living in pure bliss, enchanted by the love story, cozy in your bed (or wherever you are watching this story), in love with love and life.
There is one problem, though: the unrealistic beauty standards that are hidden everywhere we look: in movies, and of course, on social media. When you look at those bodies with jealousy and awe, and feel your insecurities develop or grow, remember that it is only makeup, filters, angles, photoshop, lighting, and plastic surgery. These pictures and modified bodies have made our beauty standards so extreme that they are impossible to reach in natural ways. We are supposed to embrace ourselves the way we are, but everybody has insecurities and that will never go away. What should change are the unrealistic beauty standards, and our way of looking at our insecurities. A lot of campaigning for self-love on social media says that we should embrace our imperfections. But isn’t that the entire point? That nothing is perfect and that those “perfect” bodies aren’t perfect, they are fake. That’s why we should see every real body as a real, beautiful body, not as an imperfection.
Now, you are probably thinking: “What about the movies and series, how do they affect our well-being?” Well, sure, the actors don’t all look identical, nor do they all meet our impossible beauty standards, which makes us see them as more like us. That is a good thing. The problem is the fact that most teenagers in movies aren’t played by teenagers. Isn’t it problematic that we look up to these actors, and are supposed to see ourselves reflected in them, when they’re at an entirely different stage in life, and are not much like us at all?
Another common insecurity is looking too young or too old. We feel like we should look older because we don’t want to look child-like. We want to look like the actors that are playing 15-17-year-olds in the movies we are watching, but these characters aren’t played by 15-17-year-olds, they are played by actors who are in their twenties or even thirties. How can a 15-year-old ever achieve looking like a 30-year-old actor? It is not possible. Now, you might think; “yes, well teenagers are dumb, they should think more critically”. Yeah, sure, they could, but isn’t it more so the fault of those in charge of the casting? And it’s not like we are seeing this once, we are seeing this everywhere, all of the time, which makes it extremely difficult not to have our perception of ourselves change. We do not remember that it’s all fake. We do not remember that this isn’t easily achievable beauty. We will just try to look like them anyway. Sooner or later, those insecurities will creep into our minds, and they may never go away.
In conclusion, our beauty standards are unachievable, so don’t waste your time on trying to look like your favorite influencer on Instagram, or your favorite actor. Instead, try to embrace the fact that you are good enough, without changing yourself. You are not imperfect, you are only real.