In today's digital age, social media has become a powerful influencer in shaping our perceptions of beauty and self-image. The rise of editing tools, filters, and well-curated online personas has produced an environment where unrealistic beauty standards prevail. According to a survey, 70% of individuals aged 18-35 reported social media has influenced them to compare their bodies to others. Research also shows young adults spending more time on social media are 2.2 times more likely to experience body dissatisfaction than those spending less time on these platforms.
Social media is undeniably here to stay — therefore, finding ways to cope with some of its adverse effects can help us navigate and redefine our understanding of beauty.
Understanding the Illusion
While social media takes our world by storm, it often presents a carefully crafted version of reality — enticing, but far from the truth. Filters, airbrushing, and staged images create a distorted perception of flawless beauty. As this world assimilates into our new reality, it is essential to recognize that these images do not represent the full spectrum of human diversity and that true beauty encompasses so much more than what meets the eye.
Curating Our Feed
One of the first steps in safeguarding ourselves from the sometimes unrealistic image social media paints is to consciously curate our social media feeds. By taking the action to unfollow accounts that perpetuate overly unrealistic beauty standards or entice a feeling of inadequacy, we can regain power over the narrative we consume. Instead, try following accounts that promote body positivity, and self-acceptance and celebrate diverse forms of beauty. Surrounding ourselves with positive influences counteracts the adverse impact of unrealistic bodies on our self-esteem. A balanced, intentional social media feed is critical to internalising that not everything is as perfect as it may seem.
Consuming social media mindfully is vital to maintaining a healthy self-image. Here are some tips to be aware of consuming content mindfully:
Recognise what we see is carefully curated — not necessarily an everyday reality
Limit the time spent scrolling mindlessly through social media
Try engaging in activities that promote self-care and self-appreciation
Contribute to a more positive self-perception by engaging in hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and focusing on personal growth.
A strong self-image is all about embracing our authentic selves and celebrating our unique qualities. It's about recognising that no one is perfect and that beauty lies in our imperfections. While this is easier said than done, taking steps to consume media mindfully helps us work towards embracing not only our true authentic selves but the authentic selves of those around us as well.
As a result, we can reframe beauty standards by admiring inner qualities such as kindness, compassion and intelligence as a metric rather than solely what meets the eye. Cultivating this kind of self-love and acceptance for ourselves and others can shield us from the warped portrayal of beauty we are otherwise so accustomed to indulging in.
The influence of social media on beauty standards and body image is undeniable. By equipping ourselves and developing self-awareness of its effects, we can reclaim our power and redefine what beauty means to us. We can create a world where beauty is not confined to filters and curated images but radiates from within.