By: April Carson
Social media has become a daily part of life, but the constant use may have negative effects on mental health. A study published in the National Library of Medicine by Heather Woods and Holly Scott found that increased social media usage leads to decreased sleep quality, low self-esteem, anxiety/depression levels increasing as well. Its popularity during this time period increases potential triggers for users suffering from emotional problems or disorders - it's easy to get caught up wanting to change your appearance when you're constantly comparing yourself with others online rather than looking at them face-to-face where they are less likely able to portray an image without having any flaws or insecurities.
Screens have become a part of our daily lives as we take selfies, post on social media and swipe through dating apps. In fact, screens are so influential that the Evil Queen's mirror from Snow White is kind of like ours today - they make us constantly compare ourselves to others.
The pandemic is causing more people all over America (and possibly other parts) to suffer emotionally due specifically because of how they look and the pressure to be perfect/attractive on social media. Again, we can see this more prevalently with women than men because of the societal standards placed upon them to be "perfect" at all times.
To put it simply, social media influencers serve as celebrities that we see across our various social media accounts. They influence us—to buy a product, to vacation in an exotic location, and more recently for some of them even eating at certain restaurants. While their role is definitely useful and effective on the whole (they advertise products after all), sometimes this becomes too much or causes comparisons between you and your own life with theirs which may not be so easy since they only show the best bits of their lives online. It’s also obvious how instilling insecurity can hurt people who already have problems dealing with body image issues given what has often been shown by these posts over time now making comments about Instagram feeds putting out unrealistic expectations one shouldn't compare themselves with.
So why do we feel the need to look like what we see in these photographs, to want a body which is not even real?
Social media has everything to do with it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc. They are all platforms in which both celebrities and common folk alike can share photos of their life for the world to see. Many people use this as a form of validation when they don't feel content with themselves.
The fact is, we cannot and should not compare ourselves to images we see on these platforms; the images are not real. The people in them often represent their best half and they edit themselves before uploading their snap shots for all of us to see. It's very rare that you'll see a person in their pajamas, with makeup-less face and with bed hair. The false representation is just another reason why we need to stop comparing ourselves, because it's not real!
The standards of beauty have changed immensely over time. A couple hundred years ago, pale skin was considered beautiful while darker skin was deemed inferior because pale skin represented wealth and time spent hidden away indoors, whereas dark skin meant you labored in the sun. And today the standards are still ever-changing.
Social media is a platform where anyone can create an image of themselves, often times reflecting what society deems "beautiful".
A majority of Instagram photos that have gained mass attraction have been edited, meaning that some blemishes have been removed or dimmed , while some curves have been emphasized.
The idea of "Photoshop" has become so prominent that the public perceives "edited photos" as a method of achieving beauty standards, which can prove to be harmful. Since everyone is typically using the same editing apps -- such as Facetune and Photoshop -- no one looks like their real self in photos anymore.
It's time to love yourself for who you are, not what editing apps tell you to look like. Pictures of models and celebrities can be seen all across social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter , making "social media models" more popular than ever before. These outlets depict the idea that anyone with a certain figure or aesthetic can achieve fame, which is untrue. This is simply an illusion for the media.