How social media has changed the way we look at ourselves
The impossible standards of beauty often lead to a sense of inadequacy
Social media has become a part of our daily lives. We have transitioned from television and print media directly onto a digital platform. Information is available and it is instantly consuming us, absorbing us hour after hour. Social media has also revolutionised the way we look at ourselves. It has completely changed our perspective on beauty and fashion.
The influencer era of perfection and lavish lifestyles is a huge contradiction to my upbringing, especially in the traditional Indian culture, where wearing makeup and being glamorous was frowned upon, as was being a dark skin tone. For most part of my childhood, I was called “Kali”.
They say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but has social media redefined those standards?
The epitome of beauty aesthetics were once defined by these famous sisters who influenced an entire generation of women around the world, who felt they had to emulate this beauty standard to attain a level of glamour and be accepted in society. A generation of women on social media became obsessed with their looks and style. It became a full-time “career” to portray this affluent, perfect, luxury lifestyle.
What impact does this level of perfection have on those who are not influencers? How would this affect your mental health when you have a full-time job or a family to raise? What impact does this also have on the younger generation? What message are we giving to society about defining yourself based on your physical appearance?
I have had conversations with women whose self-worth and self-esteem have been dramatically affected by this pressure of perfection. It has raised their levels of insecurity.
As a global makeup artist, I have worked on some of the most famous celebrities and models in the world. I know first-hand what goes into making someone look so beautiful and glamorous. It takes hours of hair and makeup to put the perfect look together. Every woman wants to look and feel beautiful each and every day.
Beauty standards may have evolved, thanks to social media. You can get inspiration on how to stay current with fashion and beauty trends instantly. Even the older generation of female family members who were totally against wearing makeup in my childhood are now booking their hairdressers and makeup artists before a family wedding. This has created a wonderful new industry and has allowed people to discover new careers. Owing to social media, beauty education is thriving and you can learn beauty techniques straight from your phone whilst doing your makeup application at home.
On the flipside, social media has put a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way. We are scared to represent ourselves in our true essence. Filters have become an essential part of the image we want the world to see. How many times do you take so many selfies to ensure you have the right angle? Your face expression looks right? Your body looks slim and my favourite is... “I’ll send you the pictures once I’ve edited them”.
I have also seen the impact social media has had on the younger generation who feel so much pressure to look and dress a certain way. This can lead to deep insecurities and low esteem for a young child who is trying to navigate his or her way through adolescence.
We all feel insecure as humans and I truly believe it’s time to change the beauty narrative. Let us celebrate our imperfections and what makes us unique. Let us transition from physical beauty to emotional, mental and spiritual beauty.
Let us embrace each other for who we truly are and not how we look or how many followers we have. It’s time to let our inner beauty shine!