Is the media/internet promoting unrealistic standards of beauty?
This question easily becomes an argument in small gatherings these days. It has become almost too easy to declare someone as fake, just by looking through his or her Instagram feed. We even go as far as referring to people as “slay queen” or “slay king”.
Over time, celebrities, magazine editors, and fashion designers held the power of dictating what is considered “beautiful.” Today, social media has expanded that influence to include the voice of the masses – you, me… even that girl who boarded the same Napep with you this morning.
“Nowadays, a 14-year-old blogger can have a voice as loud as that of the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. A single tweet or blog post can go viral, provoking changes at the top in a matter of hours
The negative influences we’ve become accustomed to in traditional media are still there. Photoshop rears its ‘ugly’ head, whether you see it flipping through the pages of a magazine or scrolling through your Instagram feed.
While social media is a constantly evolving world of its own, there are just a few major events that will continue to propel society in the right direction in defining what beauty is. (Although I don’t think there’s just one definition.)
- Celebrities are showing us an unfiltered look into their lives.
We know how much power their publicists hold over what these people post on their social media handles but, we have unique cases of celebrities putting up natural and unfiltered aspects of their lives. For example, we’ve seen beautiful pictures of beautypreneur Tara Fela Durotoye without makeup on social media and the confidence she exudes is contagious
- Strong, beautiful women have a voice and people are listening
Winnie Harlow, who has over 1 million followers on Instagram, has a skin condition called vitiligo. Harlow utilizes her social media platforms to spread messages of body positivity and highlight issues like racial inequality in the beauty industry. Gracing the covers of magazines, she has come a long way from being bullied out of high school and acts as an inspiration to women all across the globe, including Nigerian model Temilola Omobajesu
- Body (and beauty) positive campaigns spread like wildfire on social media. Hashtags help to create a community where people all over the world can contribute what they think about a particular topic. For example, #LoveYourLines encourages people to love their stretch marks which magazines normally blur out without a second thought.
Comments on posts with these hashtags are not always positive, there are always groups of people that can find anything to be upset about – but there is an overwhelmingly positive response from social media users around the world who work to encourage and inspire others to find confidence and self-love.
So while the social media communities aren’t made up of strawberry shakes and marshmallows, our society is certainly taking steps in the right direction. You decide your own definition of beauty, and social media makes your contribution accessible to the world.