December 4, 2021
Bakum said social media reinforces the idea that being beautiful is the ultimate goal for people.
“This one standard of beauty that is presented in social media can destroy people. There are so many different definitions of being beautiful,” Bakum said. “If you are seeing all these images on social media and not feeling like you are seeing yourself, insecurities start to creep in and can lead to someone questioning their appearance and feeling insecure.”
Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Coordinator Kate Leslie said the ability to edit photos and alter appearances before posting them on social media is one of the factors that feed into beauty standards.
“The fact that we can Photoshop a photograph so that you hit some artificial idea of perfection, and then we hold people to that, helps to explain why we have got so many people who are dealing with eating disorders, are deeply uncomfortable with their bodies or have this horrific relationship with dieting and exercise,” Leslie said.
Kalvert said it is easier for teenagers to compare themselves to their peers using social media, which can cause competition and make them feel negatively about their appearance.
“We are competing with unrealistic and untrue standards, but nobody is really willing to admit that what they are posting or what they are seeing is not true, so it creates a lot of really unhealthy expectations,” Kalvert said.
The beauty standards affect people of color who may not fit the desired standards, Senior Elliot Lazarova-Weng said.
“The favoritism of eurocentric facial features or certain body types are so harmful, especially to children,” Lazarova-Weng said.
Associate Dean Marisel Figueroa-Marrero said she has talked with students before about feeling the effects of these beauty standards in social media.
“I had a conversation with some female identifying students about the pressure to fit into the beauty standard that social media sets. We talked about how the images we see on social media can have an effect on how we perceive ourselves. Social media is constantly promoting this unattainable and unrealistic standard of beauty, which many times ignores, diminishes, and disrespects people who do not fall within those stereotypes,” Figueroa said.