Our ideals are always shifting. Yet our obsession with seeking beauty and rejecting aging is ongoing. It is definitely true that history, culture, and societal norms have a significant impact on how we perceive and feel about ourselves and our bodies. However, we can’t overestimate how social media, mass media, popular trends, advertisements, celebrity influencers, and others are shaping our views and perceptions of beauty. While some of these beauty ideals are often unobtainable, the quest by all genders to achieve these ideals fuels a worldwide multi-billion-dollar beauty and cosmetic enhancement industry.
How Is Social Media Impacting Our Perceptions Of Beauty?
With the growth and popularity of Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, a host of beauty and lifestyle influencers has emerged in the last couple of years. You can find countless tips on how to apply makeup, how to recreate a celebrity look (e.g., clothes and appearance), exercises for a beautiful body, and much, much more. Millions of people follow beauty influencers and bloggers all over the world. Their popularity continues to grow as anyone can be a self-proclaimed expert.
Celebrities like any one or all of Kim Kardashian’s sisters and many of the other top celebrities on Instagram have millions of followers: Kylie Jenner 249.65 million, The Rock 254.76 million, Ariana Grande 252.84 million, and Cristian Ronaldo with an enormous number of followers at 315+ million.5 Instagram is one of the most popular photo-sharing social networking that is used by the public; including celebrities, influencers, and the aesthetic industry.
A blog published by Ntianu Obiora entitled, “The dark side of social media: How unrealistic beauty standards are causing identity issues,” explores the negative impact of social media promoting unhealthy images via unreal and doctored images. “Just as most of us use social media to promote ourselves, tons of celebrities, influencers, models and brands, also use it to sell themselves by creating an image of perfection,” says Ms. Obiora. “It’s hard not to see a multitude of perfectly toned beauties, flat stomachs, plump breasts, impossibly long legs and perky, perfectly rounded butts.”6
It remains to be seen if these influencers will have a lasting impact on how the next generations perceive beauty.
2“Here’s looking at me. Covid-19 is fueling a Zoom-boom in cosmetic surgery”, International Economist, 2021.
4“How Beauty Ideals Evolved from Anti-Aging to Successful Aging in a Single Generation,” Marci Robin, September 2021, www.MarthaStewart.com
6Ntianu Obiora November 2021 blog, “The dark side of social media: How unrealistic beauty standards are causing identity issues,” Plusng.com