There has been an interesting evolution in the use of social media since it’s introduction in the late 1990s. The initial marketing of these applications targeted younger generations, and urged them to share their lives with friends and family. Within the past decade, the use of social media has become less casual. Instead, many users utilized apps such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook to develop the image of a perfect life. People only showcased the parts of their lives that could be glorified or seen as successful by others. This includes social functions, family highlights, vacation pictures, or flattering “selfies”. Consequently, social media was no longer used to show close friends the more intimate parts of life. People nowadays want to connect with as many people as possible and convey miniscule components of their lives.
As more celebrities began to take advantage of these apps for marketing purposes, more people felt pressured to appear just as perfect. This does not only include a perfect lifestyle filled to the brim with fun and personal success. It is also blended with dangerous beauty standards that celebrities continuously promote to susceptible, young minds. People forget that celebrities are paid to appear flawless, with the help of professional makeup artists, photographers, fitness trainers, dieticians, and photo editors. When social media became a primary source of entertainment for many, the epitome of perfection was thin, physically in shape, stylish, and financially comfortable. This causes people to only post their most conventionally attractive photos, often editing their face and bodies. Social media is alarmingly fake, with the aid of celebrities and major corporations showing the public who they must strive to be.
People have felt the pressure of a perfectionist society for decades, and are becoming increasingly tired of portraying an altered reality. The introduction of TikTok into the social media world has fueled Generation Z and Millenials into showcasing their raw lives. Tik Tok is a social media app that was developed in 2016 and features short, entertaining videos. Instead of only capturing a flawless moment within a lense, users are encouraged to showcase their true personality through videos. This has allowed for influencers to produce videos about political opinions, comedy, personal interests, mental health, and body positivity.
For instance, Victoria Paris currently has approximately one million followers on TikTok and is now considered an official influencer. At first glance (particularly on Instagram where only photos can be seen), she seems to have a perfect life. Paris is conventionally attractive, privileged, and has become financially successful as an influencer within four months. However, this success was not created by only posting the glamorized components of her life. She often discusses her personal life, mental health difficulties, how to become successful as a social media influencer, and even features “Things I’m Struggling With” videos. Paris’s primary message to her followers is that she does not want to be fake on social media, and believes that followers deserve to have a realistic picture of her life as an influencer. Users are interested in getting to know these influencers at a personal level, and more influencers are therefore speaking about sensitive topics on their platforms.
In other words, social media is reverting back to becoming more honest and casual. In addition to influencers such as Victoria Paris, the body positivity movement has also had an interesting impact on the social media world. Advocates are asking for celebrities and influencers to no longer edit their photos, or at least tell their followers if they are. Others take a different approach, and instead photograph their own bodies to post on social media platforms. These photos include cellulite, body rolls, and beauty marks, all of which would be typically edited out by celebrities. The objective of the movement is to battle beauty standards and to show people what real bodies look like.
Overall, more companies are choosing raw influencers to promote their products because that is simply what younger generations are interested in. It is much more appealing to follow someone who is honest about their mental and physical health, in comparison to those who never reveal imperfect information and make their followers feel inadequate. Social media is retiring the idea of perfectionism, and is instead becoming honest with the public about the lives of those who seem flawless.
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