Media has always had this warped idea of what dictates visual beauty of a woman. This could have to do with body size, shape, skin color, facial genetics, and much more. Sadly, this idea is starting to seep in social media. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the like, many young, teenage girls seem to learn that the “better” they look in their selfies, the more likes, shares, and follows they’ll receive.
How does this negatively affect how teen girls see themselves?
There are actually multiple ways that social media can twist the idea of beauty: peer pressure and advertisements. This is a dangerous yet powerful combination of societal constraint that can cause low self-esteem, depression and even obesity in teenage girls.
Direct and Indirect Peer Pressure
It’s considered common for many teens to want to “fit in.” For teenage girls, they could be pressured by friends to “look like a woman”. Their crush or companion could tell them to wear make-up or maintain a specific body type because that is all their suitor will accept. This is a direct form of peer pressure.
A more indirect form could be from seeing all of those selfies of girls posted to achieve a certain look. It could come from comments from other teenagers who say what type of look they prefer in a potential girlfriend. These aren’t directed at the teenage girl in particular, but because this is the “norm,” she may feel that she doesn’t belong. This feeling can lead to body obsession, which is going to extremes to achieve a certain look, or depression because she feels “left behind.”
The Bombardment of Advertisements
Advertisements are everywhere, including on social media. It could be in the form of pages, sponsored posts, and banners on the website. Nowadays, however, advertisers have gotten a bit smarter; they can now strategically place banners on the profiles of their target audience. In the case of teenage girls, they usually have ads for make-up, clothing, jewelry, and other easily accessible products that are associated with looks. Many businesses of this type tend to exploit the “desire” for girls to look beautiful.
Even if an advertisement doesn’t directly tell teen girls what beauty “should” be, they can subtly instill a definition of visual appeal. They do this by constantly showing model women who, no matter what different products they’re wearing, all look a certain way; these models could all have a body type of a specific size or shape or even certain facial features. Now, this may be unintentional on the advertiser’s part. Luckily, society is starting to change this little by little.
Social Websites have a Positive Side
A teen girl must know that they don’t need the approval of others to boost their self-esteem. Facebook, Twitter, and other similar sites are places to communicate and share with others. They could start a group and talk about hobbies, education, and other positive activities going on in their lives.