By Michaela Del Viscovo
Ask your parents, grandparents, teachers, or even the same lady running that hot-dog cart you pass on the way to class everyday how much the standard of beauty has become not only more refined and pervasive, but how the pressure to conform to these standards has increased drastically over the years. Although there are many factors that contribute to this, the main perpetrator is undoubtedly social media — more specifically, Instagram. No other social media platform is as image centric as Instagram is. Years ago the standard of beauty adopted by the public was molded by actresses, models, people in magazines, and advertisements. Sure many aren’t fooled by the perfection apparent in media, but there’s a good percentage who fall guilty of believing that the waistlines, lip plumpness, and thigh to calf ratios are the same for the figures in pictures as they are in flesh. It’s not groundbreaking news that photoshopping is a thing. A major thing, in fact.
The farfetched difference with Instagram becoming the main source of media consumption for the latest generation is that, on Instagram, everything just seems so damn real. Seemingly untouched, raw, up close selfies of Kendall Jenner and Lily Rose Depp prove to the masses that they are just as perfect in real life as they are in professionally developed shots. It’s not even just actresses and models with personal trainers that we see on the platform, it’s girls who are seemingly just like us. This generation’s version of the girl next door. The girl who goes to public school and drinks beer in basements on Friday nights but was blessed with goddess like features, and consequently why she has a follower count higher than the salary we’re lucky to be making out of college.
In spite of this disparity, each party holds just as much power in constructing the beauty standard. It’s safe to say that scrolling through Instagram goes a lot like this: image of a celeb on the red carpet, selfie of that girl in your history class with a nose that looks like it belongs on an American Girl Doll, GIF of a model doing cute facial poses… image of a perfect human, image of a perfect human. You get the gist. Going through this not several, but hundreds of times per day is sure to influence millennials and generations above and below who use the platform that much.
No longer is the excuse of saying that an image is photo-shopped acceptable, things seem as raw as ever. But, this is where things get tricky with a capital T. It is incredibly easy to forget that it took approximately 176 photos to get the right one, natural lighting is a rare God-sent gift, and body slimming/retouching apps exist. In fact, we more than likely use these tricks and apps, so what makes us believe that all the others don’t?
Because we are in denial since all the others are put on a mile-high pedestal with thousands of likes and comments attached to it. Likes upon likes and comments upon comments verifying that validity of the beauty and essence of these people.
The go-to, short answer to this is eff the beauty standards Instagram has created. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more than simply flipping off a standard molded by society that has been intensified over the last decade. No catchy feminist phrase or self-love, confidence boosting talk will help girls not feel the need to conform to the beauty standards solidified by Instagram. It’s up to you to realize the romanization and fraud behind the images posted, and be strong enough to be comfortable with the bump on your nose and stretch marks on your thighs. Everybody has flaws, some are just better at hiding them than others.