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Kat Chandler

Professor Rodrick

English 115 (2:00-3:15)

26 September 2017

Internets Beauty Standards Do Not Define Us

Whether we want to believe it or not, the internet defines what type of beauty is

acceptable in todays society. Some may argue it is people around you who determine what is

acceptable, not internet and society. If this were true then why would people on social media

have the tendency to enhance what they do have or camouflage what they do not have. The

images we live up to, from ads on YouTube to Instagram filters, dictate what we should look like

or at least should want to look like. Beauty standards on the internet can boost production of

false beauty advertisements, negatively affect body image, and damage self-esteem when there is

nothing good about altering your personal perception of beauty to fit the mold of anything other

than yourself.

Filters are beyond popular, especially the butterfly and flower filters on Snapchat and

Instagram. The skin-lightening effect causes an instability in self-image to those who naturally

have deeper skin tones. This is a prime example of how false beauty advertisements work with

the social media to sell their products. Skin-lightning creams are sold from drug stores to beauty

parlor which boost sales for those who are distributing it. According to David Fredrick, a well-

known professor of Psychology, the reason most people would say do this is because we know

the digitally manipulated lie is more appealing than the truth (Dumenco, 11). In his journal

article about body image, he discloses a lot of information based off an experiment he conducted.

He took two main groups of women and had them look at pictures of photo shopped people with

disclaimers. The group who had photos with disclaimers did not have any body image

improvement. In fact, it plummeted. The reason why the disclaimers had such a negative effect

was because it voiced everything wrong with the model that the editors had to change. On the

other hand, the group without disclaimers on their photos only had a slight decrease in self-

esteem. Overall, whether or not there were disclaimers in a photo shopped photo, the womens

feelings regarding their own body image never increased. Some may say everyone knows photo

shopped is used all the time. Even if this were true, which is very likely, does that make it not a

problem. Distorted body images are carried through the internet every day, every second. Every

time we see an add, we subconsciously gain the idea that what we see will always be accepted

over what we actually look like. Unfortunately, this results in success for the beauty markets and

a failure for humanitys perception.

Sometimes our best qualities are underrated. There was a survey conducted using 1,000

girls ages 14-17 that finds how much girls hide the great characteristics they have to be more

appealing online. According to the survey, girls downplay most prominently their intelligence,

kindness, and efforts to be a positive influence. In person, girls say they come across as smart

(82%), kind (76%), and a good influence (59%), whereas online, girls consider themselves fun

(54%), funny (52%), and social (48%) (Silver Springs, 1). Most people, typically young girls,

believe social media broadcasts sexy over brains, therefore they too must be sexy instead of

intelligent. This is an understandable way to think. Even in todays society of 2017, never has

there been an average looking girl holding textbooks while eating a Carls Junior burger. It is

more like the picture on the last page. These are thin, young woman with tanned skin and flowy

hair advertising for Carls Junior burgers. The internet describes these girls as the ultimate catch

because of these features. It is okay to have a pretty girl on TV, but to say only this body type

is attractive is appalling. Some may argue having an athletic looking model will help inspire

young girls to be healthier and work out more. Although this may be true, photos like these are

not always sending that type of message. The main message being sent to viewers is what it takes

to be considered beautiful. Advertisement like these say you must be size zero, you must have

long hair, you must have tan skin, and you must not strive to be anything else. This idea of

beauty is what triggers people to have low self-esteem. The fact is low self-esteem is a risk

factor for depression says Ulrich Orth, a psychologist who studies the links between low self-

esteem and depression (Orth, 1). In order to eliminate this negative source, commercial need to

start demonstrating how every human body and brain can be appealing, not just the stereotypical


There is a great amount of beauty regimens and workout gear that claim to be the missing

element you need to make yourself beautiful. Industries feed on the insecure. According to

Kuldip Kaur, an author of a discourse analysis advertisements promote an idealized lifestyle and

manipulate readers to a certain extent into believing whatever that is advertised is indeed true

(Kaur, 1). There is always a new product that will 100% work. Whether it is a diet pill that can

shrink your waist in a day or a new makeup line that can erase all your imperfections, the

industries will tell you anything. It is strange how beauty agendas change all the time. At first the

thigh-gap was idolized and now it is the thigh brow. There are so many things that can alter our

appearance, but why even bother. Todays must have look is going to be next years dead

trend. Before, larger breasts were idolized now it is large butts. To defeat this, society must

encourage different shapes and sizes, shades and colors, everything that makes a person unique

because the internet causes a subconscious distortion to what is truly beautiful.


Overall, beauty standards change overtime. During these times, we should attack the

problem not the people. The internet plants the idea that we need improvement into our heads. It

needs limitations and a reality check. We will never look like the photo-shopped beauties on the

television, on social media, or in advertisements. The only look we will ever achieve as human

beings is our best selves. Inner beauty is much more significant than the latest thigh gap or thigh

brow. The internet may make a claim of what the standards of beauty are but at the same time

they are selling and making money off your insecurities. Social media lets beauty standards boost

production of their false beauty advertisements, increase negative ideas of body image, and worst

of all damage self-esteem. Psychologists and sociologist both have uncovered the truth to todays

internet compulsion. It dictates every part of our lives. Yes, the internet is resourceful and

informative. But it also is demanding of our attention and addictive. Yes, without the internet we

would have a more difficult time communicating to those who are far away. But, we lose the

humane, genuine interaction between two people. Everything is done online and we lose a bit of

ourselves in that. We believe what we see and never questions its darkness. We see the latest

trends and go with it without questioning. Attacking the problem at its roots means to promote

positive body image instead of trying to change it. Apps and websites are not the ones who suffer

from the lasting effects of body images. As people in the American society, we are the ones who

suffer. Not everyone is insecure, but some want to fit in; unfortunately, because of insecurity

there is a dark side to everything. For some, seeing pop-up adds of a new diet pill is a trigger. For

others, a new workout machine makes them question their appearance. For many, seeing what

society idolizes makes them question if they will ever be good enough. Beauty should not be

dictated by what looks great in a magazine. Beauty is always within and beauty standards do not

define us.

Works Cited

Frederick, David. Reducing the Negative Effects of Media Exposure on Body Image: Testing

the Effectiveness of Subvertising and Disclaimer Labels. Body Image, vol. 17, 2016, pp.

171174. Accessed 30 September 2017.

Kaur, Kuldip. Beauty Product Advertisements: A Critical Discourse Analysis. Asian Social

Science, vol.9, no.3, 2013, pp.61-71. Accessed 30 September 2017.

Sacca, Paul. Brobible. 2015, Carls Junior. Accessed 30 September 2017.

Survey: Teen girls Online make Themselves Cooler than in Real Life. Media Report to

Women, vol.39, no.1, 2011, pp.1-1,3. Accessed 30 September 2017.