Is influencer culture driving unrealistic beauty standards?

Faking Faces: Instagram’s role in propagating unrealistic beauty standards


If you're on Instagram, you've probably come across an influencer or two. Influencers have evolved online as a sort of subliminal marketing that monetizes the likes, shares, and attention of those in their audiences. Many Instagram influencers have a captivating personality, a particular brand or personal aesthetic, and, in most cases (and sometimes most significantly), their attractiveness.

Influencers demonstrate how the maintenance of one's online persona digs deeper into the concept of impression management as a performance, as it is now a job for many where they must maintain a specific image while promoting brand deals that some may not even fully endorse. This exemplifies how impression management may be accomplished by carefully picking, screening, and recording photos in order to generate the greatest pleasant impression, which is then highly rewarded with affirmation as a result of the expanding economy of "likes" and "attention."


It's a beautiful life, but only if you are

With the saturation of influencers that flood our Instagram feed, many people who research and consume their content catch up on important indications that cause them to change their own online presence. Barker and Rodriguez (2017) discovered that social media acts as a platform for amplifying and propagating beauty norms, with one subject describing their experience with social media as "conforming to what society wants you to look like so you get more likes because people regard it as lovely." This is an example of how Instagram and, by extension, influencers spread and amplify beauty standards that many people believe they must satisfy in order to be socially accepted.


Fixing or Faking our faces with filters


Individuals are putting in a lot of work to ensure that their photographs represent the persona that they have carefully crafted online. Seeing the social and economic rewards placed upon influencers who consistently confirm these idealised beauty standards will encourage individuals to use "filters" and editing tools to improve and change their looks in order to reflect these beauty standards.

The introduction of filters can be traced back to the augmented reality dog filter on the short-lived photo-sharing app "Snapchat." Filters that were previously rather gimmicky and entertaining have evolved into filters that replicate beauty ideals, with filters on Instagram such as "HOLY NATURAL" and "Perfect Face" imitating various sorts of plastic surgery such as smaller noses, lip filler, brow lifts, and smoother skin.


Catching Catfish: The deception of identity play


The temptation to match to current beauty standards can lead to users reshaping and altering their online selves to accommodate these ideals; nonetheless, the question arises as to whether the usage of filters and body editing programmes is dishonest to the audience. It describes the role of identification as critical for users to effectively belong to virtual communities, where knowing the identity of others in your network is critical to connection.

Traditional definitions of a virtual "catfish" involve someone impersonating another person online, frequently using photos of other individuals to trick others. However, today's social media tools, such as filters and body editing applications, allow users to entirely manage their online identity, spawning a new type of "catfish" to characterise someone who aggressively edits and beautifies photographs of themselves to suit beauty ideals, frequently to the point of unrecognition.


Comparison and negative body image


Body image difficulties arise in the area between how our bodies actually are and what we believe our bodies should be. In addition to conventional media, social media, particularly Instagram, causes information overload and continuous streams of people with seemingly beautiful bodies. It perpetuates a cycle of comparison and negative self-perception.

It is possible to transform our bodies through nutrition and exercise in order to achieve perfection. But, because of the nature of comparison, no physical change will ever produce lasting happiness. Gaining muscle or losing weight becomes an "I'll be delighted when" situation. From the moment we are born to the moment we die, our bodies are constantly evolving. We are flesh and bone, a constantly regenerating mass of cells. We develop pimples, shadows under our eyes, and hair growing in strange places. Human nature is defined by beauty standards since they are created to be unreachable.


People not only compare their own bodies, but they also associate perceived social value with the likes and follows that come with a 'sick' physique. Someone who believes they do not have a 'sick' body believes they are not as valuable as a person. This is obviously not true, yet we're all susceptible to feeling bad about ourselves as a result.