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Fake Light of Social Media: How Influencer Culture Drives Unrealistic Beauty Standards

In today's digitally-driven world, the influence of social media has become a powerful force in shaping societal norms and ideals. One particular aspect that has garnered significant attention is the rise of influencer culture and its impact on self-esteem on its followers.

Social media has revolutionised the way we perceive TV stars, altering our perspective on their lives and creating a new level of accessibility. This newfound intimacy has fostered an illusion of relatability, making us believe that we truly know these stars on a personal level. However, this perception is carefully curated and often masks the true realities and challenges they face.

The Kardashians’ Beauty Bubble

What is often overlooked when glancing at the Kardashian family's Instagram profiles, and what significantly contributes to the perpetuation of unrealistic beauty standards, is the extensive team of professionals working tirelessly behind the scenes. From makeup artists to stylists, photographers to editors, there is a whole crew dedicated to ensuring that every photoshoot appears flawless. These professionals meticulously craft the Kardashians' makeup, hair, and overall appearance to align with the ideals of perfection.

It is essential to recognise that the standards set by the Kardashian family are often unrealistic and unattainable for most people. Many individuals who attempt to emulate their beauty routines or appearances may experience feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem when they are unable to achieve the same results, and this can lead individuals down a dark road, fostering body dissatisfaction, unhealthy comparison, and even mental health issues.

A Caveman on Steroids: The Case of Liver King

Liver King, also known as Barbarian John, is a controversial fitness influencer who has garnered significant attention for his unconventional methods in nutrition and physical training. He staunchly advocates for ancestral health principles and emphasises the inclusion of nutrient-rich organ meats, particularly liver, in his dietary regimen. His distinct approach has sparked both interest and controversy within the fitness community. While Liver King promotes a lifestyle focused on natural and ancestral principles, some individuals, such as Joe Rogan during episode #1842 of his podcast, argue that achieving his extraordinary physique and strength may not be entirely attainable without the aid of performance-enhancing substances.

"Do you know how rare it is to have a physique like that and not be on steroids…"

In a surprising twist, Johnson made an admission, confessing to using steroids, thereby contradicting his previous claims of being natural. This revelation came to light after another fitness influencer uncovered a series of private emails that exposed Johnson's hidden steroid regimen.

A similar pattern of driving unrealistic beauty standards by influencers can be observed across the internet. According to the body image report 2019 by Mental Health Foundation:

"One in five UK adults have felt shame because of their body image in the last year."

Transparency: The Key to a Responsible and Authentic Influencer Culture

Influencer culture itself is not inherently problematic, as it can provide a platform for creativity, inspiration, and community building. However, when it comes to body image, it is essential for influencers to prioritise transparency with their followers. The influence they hold can be immense, particularly on young and impressionable individuals who may look to them as role models. By openly discussing their own body image struggles, insecurities, and the realities of editing and filters, influencers can create a more inclusive and authentic environment.

Transparent conversations about body positivity, self-acceptance, and embracing diverse beauty standards can help to counteract the negative impact of idealised and often unattainable beauty standards. When influencers use their platforms responsibly and openly address the complexities of body image, they have the potential to foster a healthier and more inclusive space for their followers.

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