Over the past decade, influencer culture has played an important role in society by creating trends and impacting consumer behavior and beauty standards. Social media, including Instagram and Facebook, have been crucial grounds for influencers that create unrealistic beauty standards that hamper a person’s self-perception. The idea of flawless characters through influencers displaying tampered versions of themselves online through editing and filtering has created an unattainable standard that people attempt to recreate.
The influence of filtered photos
The key contributor to the unrealistic beauty standards is the widespread use of filtered and edited photos that are later posted online and viewed by thousands, or even millions of people per post. The influencers adapt their images through airbrushing images and editing software to create flawless images that do not align with reality.
However, they are often understood as authentic and attainable standards and impressionable young people can compare themselves to the unreachable standards resulting in feelings of inadequacy and imperfection leading to mental health problems. Influencers combine the adapted pictures with beauty products and treatments while promising followers that they too, will become ‘perfect’ if they use the same products. This marketing strategy generates consumerism and a fascination with people’s external appearances.
Furthering authenticity and welcoming diversity
To counteract the problems of unrealistic beauty standards, influencers and brands should take responsibility for the messages their content conveys by utilizing authentic and diverse posts. This will include showing their real selves without airbrushing and editing software to show their followers that they are not alone in their imperfections.
Diverse representation of body types, ethnicities, and ages on social media content could also be crucial to challenging societal expectations and beauty standards. Companies can play a crucial role by communicating and encouraging influencers to be transparent and no longer filter their photos. Influencers themselves may also be motivated due to the potential for brand deals, as companies would be more likely to pursue partnerships with influencers that have similar values.
Alongside educating influencers and brands, spreading awareness among the audience through promoting media literacy and critical thinking is also key. Individuals can learn to recognize the differences between an airbrushed and edited image, from an authentic picture. Promoting self-acceptance and cultural diversity will also lead to a society that embraces varying aspects of beauty.
A flawed segment of modern society
Social Media has many benefits, but the creation of unrealistic beauty standards by influencers and brands has had a range of negative impacts on society. However, there is still potential for change and realistic expectations of beauty if influencers and brands combine to create responsible, authentic, and diverse content that welcomes self-acceptance and inclusion. This can lead to a world that celebrates diverse beauty and people may have reduced feelings of inadequacy and imperfection.