An awakening has been taking place in the physical world against the beauty model that has been dictated to us for years. But in the digital arena, where younger generations spend most of their time, social media determines what is considered beautiful.
The two opposing struggles are taking place in parallel. In the physical world, the struggle goes against the latent pressure exerted on women to conform to an unrealistic beauty ideal. As part of the struggle, various media outlets have presented women whose bodies don’t correspond to the so-called ideal. All those women who had previously been excluded from the covers of magazines, television series and the public agenda, have become “legitimate.” At the same time, a trend of influencers have begun to upload to social media photos of themselves without makeup, and even photos in which they highlight stretch marks, body hair or other supposed flaws.
Meanwhile, social media acts with its own rules. The beauty ideal escalates without any barriers and brakes.
An example that encapsulates the processes of extremism taking place on the web is Tai, the AI chatbot developed by Microsoft, which was supposed to simulate a teenage girl who invited users to communicate with her via a Twitter account, in order to become an intelligent virtual entity quickly learning humanity through social media interactions.
Within hours of being aired, it turned from an innocent app that answered questions like the weather forecast or recommended restaurants into a neo-Nazi who shared its hatred of Jews and sympathy for Hitler. It learned that the neo-Nazi’s favorite candidate, Donald Trump, was “so cool” and that feminists should be humiliated. Microsoft was forced to discontinue the experiment and issue a public apology.
Tai’s story provides an important lesson of the escalation that the human race goes through in social media. In the absence of a framework of rules of what is allowed and what is forbidden, escalation will be guided by the two forces that drive us — aggression and sexuality. If we go back to the beauty ideal, not only does it not promote a healthier beauty ideal, it brings about new and unfamiliar mental disorders.
Technology has reshaped our beauty ideal and is doing a great job communicating that gospel to the masses. One of the bizarre legacies of the past decade is the popularity of the “cyborg look,” which has been adopted among influencers.
The most accurate description I have seen of the phenomenon was suggested by Jia Tolentino of The New Yorker: “the gradual emergence, among professionally beautiful women, of a single, cyborgian face. It’s a young face, of course, with poreless skin and plump, high cheekbones. It has catlike eyes and long, cartoonish lashes; it has a small, neat nose and full, lush lips. It looks at you coyly but blankly, as if its owner has taken half a Klonopin and is considering asking you for a private-jet ride to Coachella. The face is distinctly white but ambiguously ethnic — it suggests a National Geographic composite illustrating what Americans will look like in 2050, if every American of the future were to be a direct descendant of Kim Kardashian West, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Kendall Jenner (who looks exactly like Emily Ratajkowski).”
It is unclear what came first. Were the filters created in the image of the influencers, or did the influencers shape their faces to resemble their own poltergeist? Either way, the cyborg look spread rapidly, and today the Instagram face has become the new beauty ideal.
Related Article: Marketers Beware: Influencer Marketing Fraud Is Real
Rapid Internalization of the New Beauty Norms
The internalization of accepted beauty norms is much more effective when there is active involvement in the learning process. The active involvement of users is reflected in the gamified interaction offered by the social media platforms. The ability to Like, write a comment, compare, share.
Once the desired beauty ideal has been internalized, users are given tools or features to change their appearance to suit the accepted beauty ideal such as editing the image, choosing the ideal filter, the right background.
A survey conducted by the Renfrew Center Foundation among 1,710 adolescents in the United States revealed that more than 50% filter the images before socializing them. And you will not be surprised to hear that the majority of them are women. One of the significant consequences of obsessive filtering is the emerging tendency to self-reification and self-evaluation. Treating myself as a third person, as an object to be observed and valued, in the same way another person observes and judges from the side.
Social media encourage users to be involved and take an active part in the process of evaluating others and themselves. Users examine their images, editing and shape them to fit the accepted beauty ideal.
Related Article: The Two Sides of the ‘New Normal’
The effect of the filters is already far beyond amiable amusement or unharmed retouch. The filters and the entire game played on the networks affect the mental health of the users. According to a study published in the JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery journal, apps like Instagram, Snapchat and FaceTune allow users to achieve a level of perfection that was previously only observed in beauty magazines — only this time they are in the role of model.
Plasticist Tijion Asho noticed that if in the past patients came to him and brought pictures of celebrities they want to look like, today they come for with filtered pictures of themselves. The phenomenon of people wanting to look like their digital persona is called Snapchat dysmorphia. According to a study conducted at the American Academy of Facial Surgery, 55% of plastic surgeons testified that in they have performed plastic surgery aimed at helping women resemble their image in Snapchat.
Even though humanity has always cherished beauty, in the last decade our obsession with looks has reached an unprecedented peak. The time spent on social media creates an urge to achieve an impossible beauty ideal that the only thing that can fix it is not cosmetic intervention, but mental health care.
Related Article: Is Your Time Online Time Well Spent?
Liraz Margalit, PhD, is a digital psychologist, customer & user behavior specialist, and an international keynote speaker. She integrates cognitive psychology and behavioral economics perspectives to analyzes consumer behavior and deliver actionable insights for business stakeholders.
Social Media Market Latest Advancements and Growing Business Opportunities 2021 to 2022 …
Global Social Media Market report includes current market scenario and offers a comprehensive analysis on Social Media industry, standing on the readers’ perspective, delivering detailed market data and understanding insights. It comprises inclusive important points that significantly affect the growth of the market at a global level. It analyzes the present scenario along with future trends in the market. The report is made after pin-point research and exhaustive investigation of the market development in different sectors that requires theoretical analysis, technology-based ideas, and its validity.
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Scope of the Report:
Markets Covered: Advertisement, Subscription
Companies Mentioned: Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn
Countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, Russia, UK, USA and Australia.
Regions: Asia-Pacific, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Middle East And Africa
Browse the report description and TOC:
The social media market consists of sales by entities (organizations, sole traders or partnerships) that enable customers to interact, create and share content and information. Social media enables users to share pictures, video and audio files. This market includes revenues from sales from advertisement and other services offered on social media platforms.
Highlights of Social Media Market Report:
-Market dynamics, Social Media economy manufacturing, opportunities on the total pricing of this top manufacturer and improvement trend analysis;
-Social Media industry players at the general regional industry and economy synopsis;
-Deep analysis of the most significant market players included by Worldwide Social Media Market study report;
-Understand more about the market plans that are increasingly now being adopted by leading Social Media businesses;
-Evaluation of this market character, namely market development drivers, essential challengers, inhibitors, and chances;
-Strategically profile the key players and comprehensively analyze their growth strategies.
-An extensive analysis of the Social Media market trends and shares from 2017 to 2023 to identify market opportunities and analyze industry developments.
-Comprehensive analysis with respect to investments and price trends that impact the outlook of the Global Social Media market between 2020 and 2023.
Asia Pacific was the largest region in the global social media market, accounting for 48% of the market in 2018. North America was the second largest region accounting for 32% of the global social media market. South America was the smallest region in the global social media market.
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Companies in the social media market have been heavily investing in the online video market such as digital hangouts. Digital hangouts include apps that let the user video chat with multiple people simultaneously and possibly engage in a number of activities such as watching movies or shopping together. A number of apps have started offering this service and has attracted a large user base. For instance, Google launched Hangouts Meet, a digital hangout platform for businesses. Hangouts Meet gives the users an option to participate in video meetings with their colleagues. Hangouts Meet allows the user to create and share links to videoconferences that other users can join without creating accounts or installing plugins.
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Instagram experiencing ‘global technical issue’ of disappearing stories
Instagram is experiencing a global issue with users uploading and viewing stories following reports that stories were mysteriously disappearing from users’ feeds.
A number of users from various countries took to other social media platforms on Thursday to report that their stories had vanished from the popular social media app.
“We know that some people are experiencing issues uploading and viewing stories,” an official Instagram account tweeted Thursday afternoon. “This is a widespread global technical issue not related to any particular topic and we’re fixing it right now. We’ll provide an update as soon as we can.”
Instagram Stories are images and videos on the app that typically disappear after 24 hours.
We know that some people are experiencing issues uploading and viewing stories. This is a widespread global technical issue not related to any particular topic and we’re fixing it right now. We’ll provide an update as soon as we can.
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) May 6, 2021
Why following more female athletes could help young girls have a more positive social media …
In the age of social media, young girls are arguably more impressionable now than they have ever been before, largely thanks to constant internet access and the wide variety of content at their fingertips.
But recent research has highlighted the dangers of social media, and the negative impact it can have on the minds and self-esteem of young people.
In late 2020, Canadian company Edelman Data & Intelligence conducted a local survey in partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Project, in which they spoke with 503 girls aged between 10 and 17.
They found that by the age of 13, 80 per cent of girls had downloaded a filter or used an app to distort the way they looked in photos, while 67 per cent tried to change or hide at least one feature before posting a photo of themselves.
During an already difficult transition from tween to teenager and primary school to high school, these girls are facing an uphill battle when it comes to expectations about their appearance and body shape, often comparing their lives to celebrities and famous personalities whose popularity, behaviour and looks are all validated by mass follows and likes.
Following more realistic role models can help
Another study conducted by Harvard University in 2017, in which 588 students at a public high school in the United States were surveyed, found that teenagers who were making negative comparisons between themselves and others online would find it helpful to be given regular reminders that people only typically post their life highlights.
But Australian social media expert Edwin Smith told the ABC that users can take a couple of steps further to take better control of the type of content they are exposed to in the first place.
“For all its flaws, social media and Instagram in particular use algorithms from trends in the way you use the app to work out what you want to see,” he said.
“So you can positively impact your feed by being strategic about whose posts you engage with, because the more likes and engagement you have with a particular account, the more you’ll see from them in your feed.
“On one hand, there seems to be a growing trend of people doing this and gravitating towards more authentic accounts, but there have also been developments in social technology that go against that and encourage people to use filters on Instagram stories that make their skin flawless or lips bigger.”
Female athletes could be the place to start
NSW Swifts co-captain and Aussie Diamonds squad member Maddy Proud has a strong link to this age group, given netball is one of the country’s most popular team sports.
As an athlete and author of children’s book Grace on the Court, she has built a following of close to 21,000 people on Instagram, and regularly interacts with young girls online and after matches on game day.
Now 27, Proud told the ABC there was a stark contrast in the way she and her peers used social media while growing up.
“It was so different back then, I didn’t even have a phone until I was in high school,” she said.
“I definitely see that side of things and when you see how much time young kids are spending on these online platforms now, it’s scary.
“The only comparisons I had when I was young was talking to friends about what they did on the weekend, but social media has expanded the influence that young kids get way outside immediate friends and family.”
During her 10 years playing at the top of her sport, Proud has received plenty of positive comments from parents about her leadership and role-model-like qualities.
But even she admits that she too has felt the pressure to portray a perfect version of herself online.
“Thanks to the speed and reach of the internet, we’re much more knowledgeable about what is happening around the world and that can lead to incredible learnings and opportunities,” she said.
“But if it gets into the wrong person’s hands too early in life, and they aren’t experienced enough to know what is real and what is fake, there are dangers of going down some deep rabbit holes when it comes to comparison.
“And as a netballer with a profile, once you get a few followers you can get caught up thinking, now is this the photo I really want to post, does something not look right?
“But I’m loving the recent trends that show Instagram vs reality and we have so many great people around us in netball and sport that you learn to only worry about the people’s opinions that actually matter.”
What makes them good role models?
Besides being well-rounded people that balance study and a career in sport, Proud believes female athletes — and in her case, netballers — provide a more balanced overview of life.
Dealing with failures and setbacks like match losses and injuries in the public eye, and embracing them as new challenges and learning experiences.
She believes sport also showcases examples of a range of body shapes and sizes, with a stronger emphasis on the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
“When it comes to body shape, we are strong and not necessarily women that are petite or that have curves in all the right places, because what we do is focus on making our bodies as functional as they can be so that they can work at their best,” she said.
“Even just seeing that we do lift weights and put effort into our fitness shifts the focus from physical appearance to playing sport with your mates and your well-being.
“When you’re playing sport, there are a lot of photos that fly around of you with very unattractive facial expressions, because you’re not focused on looking good, you’re giving everything you have in the moment to play well.
“If you have a look at mine, I’m sure in every single photo I’m sticking my tongue out or doing something ridiculous … so we are showcasing something online that is very real and that although everybody has flaws, we’re not going to let it stop us doing what we love.”