Young adults, particularly women, are reported to be more afraid of gaining weight than ‘getting cancer, losing their parents or nuclear war’.
This scary statistic is something that directly impacts me and is something I am going to explore over a couple of blog posts.
Filters and photo-shop are negatively affecting the confidence of men and women who are constantly viewing images on social media, and who are increasingly measuring a person’s value on the amount of likes and comments on a particular post.
I find this most apparent when scrolling through my Instagram feed. I am bombarded by images from bloggers and influencers that have been doctored, filtered and photo shopped to create an image of their “perfect self”. “Candid” and “natural’ lifestyle shots are in fact meticulously planned and shot to achieve this carefree, yet perfect look.
This causes a host of problems with self identity and a distorted standard of beauty. If we measure our own self worth on what we see online and compare ourselves to the illusion others portray then we’re bound to find problems with ourselves.
We fuel this problem
We know that no one wakes up looking like a supermodel and are aware of filtering and photo altering yet we still feel the need and the pressure to display ourselves the same way. We push out similar posts where we too look ‘perfect’ in order to feel accepted and gain peer approval.
This leads to self confidence and body issues which has become an almost accepted aspect of my generation. I know I’m repeating myself here but it’s a pretty important point: Young adults, particularly women, are reported to be more afraid of gaining weight than ‘getting cancer, losing their parents or nuclear war’.
Beyond digital alterations
The pursuit of the “perfect self” has advanced beyond simple photo altering and has moved into more permanent, physical alterations. Not satisfied with digital “perfection” social media influencers and bloggers have paved the way for the acceptance of cosmetic surgery.
Bloggers openly plug lip fillers, botox and slimming products on their accounts; by doing so showing their followers that in order to look like them they need to drastically and in some cases permanently alter their features. A trend which has even garnered the creation of a new TV show “Body Fixers” on E4.
The impact of pursuing perfection
We are losing our self identity and uniqueness in a bid to win more likes and followers and in turn validate our own self worth. This is having a negative impact on our self confidence.
To minimise and eradicate the negative impact this is having on us, we need to accept that no one looks like that blogger on Instagram – not even the blogger themselves!
A lot of social influencers I see are endorsing products, falsely claiming that their perfectly portrayed illusion is thanks to whatever they happen to be endorsing with no back up or quality checks.
They are making a sizeable amount of money off brand endorsements, thanks to our belief in them. Why do we buy into these superficial bloggers endorsements right away based on the size of their social following? All they have done is take money or free product from a brand. Brands have a responsibility to ensure a level of authenticity is given to their endorsement deals with social influencers.
The role of brands in this is significant and for brand managers these issues and trends can’t be ignored; the power influencers and bloggers have over us – while not always positive – is significant. Brands need to consider the wider impact that this is having on us (their customers) and what that will mean for the future – something I will cover in greater detail in my next blog post.