Hannah Asbury - October 05 2020

The "Beauty" Deception

The way you view yourself has become a dangerous thought due to the altercations technology has made to the standard of beauty and acceptable behaviours. Social media has become a dictator for what you should be feeling and how you should look. It is saturated with photoshopped happiness, masquerading the suffocation of anxiety and depression. These filtered photos and fake feelings build a society to believe that social media is how everyone lives their lives. It is dedicated to altering a perception of someone and providing information you want to see, but not necessarily need to see.

The brief millisecond of a photo being taken is forgotten on Instagram. We see a wall of images and think that is reality, excusing and overlooking angles, lighting, cropping, filters and photoshop.

It is unfortunate to think that we created an unrealistic beauty standard through technology; that we are responsible for the consequences of these unrealistic beauty standards. The belief that filters which shrink your nose, swell your lips and give you crystal clear skin is what beauty is becomes a focus for the younger generations and the idea of being a kind, good person is no longer considered ‘beautiful’.  

A selfie uploaded to Instagram has become more important than helping an elderly carry their groceries. Heart-reacting your friends photo has become more important than checking in on their mental health. Social media had the opportunity to become a connecting device and instead we are using it to manipulate our future generation and mask the truth of living with an unrealistic Utopia.

Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” demonstrated the strong relationship social media has with depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. While it is scary how much information technology can absorb from you, the way this information is used against you can be extremely detrimental. The algorithms created were designed to make money – not consider feelings. This is where the issue starts; while social media was created to connect, the algorithms were designed to grab your attention and maintain it. Someone who is battling with mental health issues can become a victim to this system, as social media will feed information to this individual that can deteriorate their mental health, as this is the calculated way to keep their attention. This can turn into a wind tunnel where vulnerability can cause a loss of control.   

Social media has also become a ‘phycologist’ for many, where Instagram provides pages of quotes which can manipulate the way you feel. Majority of the time, these quotes are designed to make you feel more confident within yourself. However, when uncertain feelings arise, it is important to deal with those feelings than drown yourself in quotes and opinions from sources that have no relevance to your situation. Technology does not have the ability to become a physiologist. The idea that this is a source of medicine is dangerous and can lead to harming consequences.

While there is a long list of detrimental aspects of social media, there are also many advantages that have come about. Families can connect through distance and businesses can grow their audiences. Hundreds of jobs have come to life due to social media and important discussions are starting to happen more and more. Recognising that there are positive aspects in the life of social media is extremely important. However, allowing social media to manipulate perceptions and create unrealistic expectations can have detrimental results.