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Does Social Media Generate an Unrealistic Standard of Beauty?

A picture that reflects different standards of beauty.

The concept of the “ideal woman” has existed since ancient times.

Today, beauty standards are completely different, compare with beauty standards in the past. The ideal woman of today is considered to be a slim, athletic woman with big breasts, an impressive posterior, and skinny legs. Contradictory, standards of ideal beauty among the ancient Greeks, attractive ladies were considered light-skinned, and with voluptuous body shapes.

What would someone from the past think about today's society if they looked at our social media? Definitely, they would say that we are always happy and looking perfect. Also, they would believe that fat bodies, wrinkles, and grey hairs have all been eliminated by modern civilisation.

Here we can see the most beautiful pictures, and we pay attention to those images where the light falls perfectly, the make-up looks flawless, and the angle is just right. Even the best images are subject to filters and retouching. This is made simple using technology, and there may be a significant difference between the original image and the final product. It is obvious that these images establish unrealistic and unattainable standards of beauty in our thoughts.

What are the psychological effects of these standards?

Looking in the mirror we can be not happy with ourselves, we can think that we are not good enough, we need to lose some kilograms, or we can find many other defects in us. Also, we could have feelings of shame toward our own bodies, which can cause depression. Additionally, we may experience anxiety states that push us into a never-ending race to reach that standard of perfection. We can try different strategies, from excessive exercise, and extreme diets to cosmetic surgery, without reaching a state of self-satisfaction. Therefore, we can have a negative impact on our mental health and we might be not able to enjoy our life. Statistic says that in the UK, 20% of adults reported feeling ashamed, 34% reported feeling depressed or gloomy, and 19% reported feeling disgusted by their appearance.

What can we do to reduce the negative impact of social media?

1. Value what you have and remember that no one is perfect. Everyone is unique!

Try to find physical characteristics you like about yourself. For example, if you love your eyes, make them stand out with makeup or by choosing clothes that emphasise their colour. We all have at least a few beautiful physical features, so let's take care of them and enjoy them.

2. Make an effort to spend less time on social media!

Before opening social media app, think of other enjoyable tasks to do instead. Try to expose yourself to what you think could be beneficial for you and stop following those accounts that promote harmful beauty standards. You'll eventually notice that you are more comfortable in your own body.

3. Ask a specialist for more support! He can help you to find the best solution.


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