Social media has caused major impacts over the past 20 years. From MySpace to Facebook, Twitter to Instagram, and Snapchat to TikTok, the demonstration of trend and influence has been easier to access over the course of time. The accessibility that society has over social media apps has made me realize how damaging it is for girls and young women all over the world. I’ll be sharing how negatively impactful social media has been in creating concepts of the ideal lifestyle, body type, thought process and personality that has come from the accessibility of social media and types of influencers found on social media apps.
Creating an account and logging in daily comes at little to no cost. I remember being ten years old and begging my mother for permission to create a Facebook account. At that time, Facebook was the hottest thing and I wanted to be able to connect with my friends and family… All while posting fun photos and chatting with my people. My mother gave me a firm “no” to the creation of my account but that never stopped me [sorry mom!]. Creating an account with a fake name, age, and email was simple as pi! There was no need for verification of that information in their database and still not till this very day!
Social media was fun, lighthearted, and pure. Gradually having over 1,000 friends was the overall goal. Afterwards, obtaining a certain amount of likes was mandatory. Those indicators had been rooted in popularity and favoritism. Regardless of knowing those individuals or not. The value of connecting with family and friends turned into connecting with celebrities, influencers, and idols.
“Celebrities”/”Influencers”/”Idols” have been redefined. Those titles can simply be connected to the amount of social media followers an individual has. Then, verification checks on those pages are seen to mean serious business. As celebrities, influencers, and idols, it is essential for these individuals to have a solid social media standing. This means consistency in going live, posting photos, showing an engaging personality, and keeping things entertaining even if that means invading their own privacy to one extent or another.
The purpose of celebrities and influencers to keep things entertaining even if that means invading their own privacy to one extent or another is to create a personalized connection with their audience. Before social media, the most personal interactions with celebrities and influencers were through interviews conducted on television. Today, we’re able to log into instagram and watch which celebrity or influencer on live, similar to a group Facetime session! In some instances, celebrities or influencers would invite their followers to join their live sessions. Promoting closeness and interest in celebrity lifestyle.
Photos from celebrities and influencers have a huge influence over young girls and women’s body image. Countless times, I have seen young girls speak about contemplating plastic surgery and young women (sometimes as young as 17) inquire about plastic surgery appointments. In relationship to celebrities and influencers, many publicly acknowledged women are witnessed to have favorable body types: flat stomachs, small “snatched” waists, wide hips, plump buttocks, and large breasts OR totally thin with plump buttocks. In addition to body types, facial work has also been highly favored in suggesting beauty archetypes in society too. Symmetrical facial features, high cheekbones, slim and elevated noses have all been highlighted in social appropriation in categorized beauty standards.
Tiktok has countless videos about the pain and torture that so many young women have gone through from various procedures. Many women claimed that plastic surgery was not worth it in the end, as some women rushed to obtain results that were similar to celebrities and influencers but received botched results. In some cases, thought processes are overshadowed as social media influencers and celebrities promote being an “It Girl” or “Baddie” to which most associate that personality type with having an attractive body.
When I say thought processes are overshadowed, with all the pressure society expects women to upkeep curvation and enticing shapes. The thought of being focused on physical attributes makes accepting the body one has difficult. The lack of appreciation creates a call for measures that are sometimes regretful.
The evolution of social media has been impactful in making social expectations high for young girls and women. The pressure of creating connections for the sake of likes that issue a blurred level of popularity. Then, celebrities and influencers accessibility on social media applications has only amplified the effects of those social expectations by their appearance, influencing young girls to consider plastic surgery in their future and young women taking measures to go through cosmetic procedures. During the “It Girl” and “Baddie” era, the focus on physical appearance has been more prominent, forecasting other attributes that women and young girls own. Making myself aware of this has made me want to defeat notions of social media relevance by speaking on a few key points that are weakening to society, primarily our young girls and women.
Robyn Henson (she/her) is an unapologetically black woman raised in The Bronx. She is fearless and outspoken, some will say she is the rising voice for mankind being that she values diplomacy, leadership, and collaboration. Robyn attends Fordham University where she studies psychology. There is where she met the urge to deeply inspect social development for young adults, mental health disparities for BIPOC, and the importance of cultural competency in both topics of interest. Robyn intends to build her portfolio as an article writer during her spare time by sharing her observations in a style captivating to her desired audience.