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The Modern Detriments of Social Media

The detriments of social media target the evolution of the intention behind connecting with others.

Written by
Robyn Henson

Artwork by
Diana Abouchacra

Social media has caused major impacts over the past 20+ years. From MySpace to Facebook, to Twitter to Instagram, to Snapchat to TikTok, the demonstration of trend and influence has been easier to access over time. The accessibility society has over social media apps has made me realize how damaging it is for girls and young women worldwide. Social media has negatively impacted the concept of the ideal lifestyle, body type, thought process, and personality due to the accessibility of social media and the 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 pie! There was no need to verify that information in their database, and it’s still not needed to this very day!

Social media was fun, lighthearted, and pure. Gradually having over 1,000 friends was the overall goal. Afterward, 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, and idols have been redefined. Those titles can simply be connected to the number of social media followers an individual has. Then, verification checks on those pages 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.

Celebrities and influencers keep things entertaining to create a personalized connection with their audience. Before social media, the most personal interactions with celebrities were through interviews conducted on television. Today, we can log into Instagram and watch any celebrity or influencer live, similar to a group Facetime session! In some instances, celebrities or influencers might invite their followers to join their live sessions, promoting closeness and interest in the celebrity lifestyle.

"The value of connecting with family and friends turned into connecting with celebrities, influencers, and idols."

Photos from celebrities and influencers hugely influence young girls and women’s body images. 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 as having 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 is also highly favored in suggesting beauty archetypes in society: symmetrical facial features containing high cheekbones and narrow nose bridges that have all been highlighted as socially appropriate, leading to these features categorized as baseline beauty standards.

Tiktok has countless videos about the pain and torture that so many young women go through from various procedures. Many women claim that plastic surgery was not worth it in the end, as some women rushed to obtain similar outcomes as 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 those personality types with having an attractive body.

When I say thought processes are overshadowed, with all the pressure society expects women to upkeep, focusing 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 made social expectations high for young girls and women. The pressure of creating connections for the sake of likes issues a blurred level of popularity. Celebrities' and influencers' accessibility on social media applications has only amplified the effects of those social expectations through their appearance, influencing young girls to consider plastic surgery in their future and young women to take measures to undergo 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 weaken society, primarily our young girls and women.

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