1-Minute Psychology: Does social media cause unrealistic beauty standards?
Updated: Feb 4
What does being beautiful mean for you?
Well, let’s think about it. Scrolling through Instagram, you might believe that beautiful people are thin, tall, and blonde. But is this really beautiful?
For many people, there are often unrealistic beauty standards. For example, many women desire the pumped-up lips, the thigh gaps, and the yanked-in waist. Young children now grow up seeing all of these unrealistic beauty standards and quickly become cautious of their social image and what they look like on social media. We see pictures of models and actors and start to compare ourselves to others. The figures we see in media are, then, used for social comparison. People use images to check whether they are beautiful or socially accepted.
Social media was supposed to be used in a friendly way to communicate and to interact with others, but it has become something we sometimes use to bully and shame others.
Isn’t it ironic that the purpose of social media was to bring people together, but in reality, it can make someone feel really alone? According to a study conducted by the Girl Scouts of America in 2010,
Out of over 1,000 adolescent girls surveyed,
88% of the girls believed that the media puts a lot of pressure on them to be thin, 65% believed that the body image represented in the fashion industry is too skinny, and 60% said they compared their body to what they see in magazines.
This should not be happening. Girls should not be growing up worrying about the way they look. As a teenager today, I know what my peers feel when they are being pressured to look a certain way. If you make a game with impossible rules, kids would never be able to win no matter how hard they try and would be disappointed in themselves. Our society has created this impossible game causing kids to always look down on themselves, leading to eating disorders, depression, and even suicide.
We have to change our mindsets on what is supposed to be beautiful. Social media should be more diverse; people of all gender, all races, and all shapes should be called beautiful and not just the small group of people. There are many people who are defying the standards of beauty—this is the realistic future we should have.