Unrealistic body image expectations are being set by social media

Leslie Mendez, Reporter

Social media has been a positive thing in that it gives many people the opportunity to start their careers and grow an audience. However, influencers should not be glorified and no one should feel less confident or beautiful because they are unable to afford cosmetic procedures. I frown upon famous people who have abused their power by encouraging unrealistic lifestyles. 

In my opinion, teenagers and young adults have developed unrealistic body goals because of the use of face-altering filters and the normalization of  cosmetic procedures.

It’s unfortunate to see that the use of face filters on apps like Snapchat and Instagram continue to motivate people on to alter their own faces through cosmetic surgery.

According to a 2020 plastic surgery report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, about 15.6 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2020, and 92% of those procedures were performed on women.  

I think procedures like brazilian butt lifts, breast enhancements, and tummy tucks have been on the rise due to the promotion of these procedures on social media, making them grow in popularity. 

The Kardashians have built their careers around their altered bodies but rarely admit to getting work done. This normalization of cosmetic surgery makes me worry for our youth, as the Kardashians have a great influence on their audience, which consists of 18 to 49 year old women according to a case study on unscripted television done by the Arts Management and Technology Laboratory.

It frustrates me that influencers deny the accusations of plastic surgery to keep up the appearance that they did not have work done. The false advertising of these bodies being all natural can be misleading and pressures women into wanting to achieve an unrealistic body type. 

According to an article published by Insider, it took great efforts and speculation from the media for Kylie Jenner to admit to the lip injections she got back in 2015.

It is possible that the result of getting these procedures can make people happier with their appearance, but it’s important to note that there are high risks that come with these surgeries.

Healthline states that these surgeries can occasionally lead to nerve damage, infection, severe blood loss, and death.

People can be very encouraging when considering changing the way you look to make you feel confident, but they forget to consider the consequences of life-changing surgery. Sadly, sometimes these procedures bring on further insecurity, especially when gone wrong. A person’s body image could change negatively. 

Sophomore Emily Cisneros has witnessed how social media can negatively influence a woman’s body image in comparison to current beauty standards.

“I would tell [teenagers and young adults] to not set their expectations or goals on what they see on social media because most of the time what we see on social media isn’t true,” Cisneros said. 

It’s important to remember that beauty standards are always changing and we should not always try to comply with them. If you feel inclined to surgically alter your appearance, find the root cause of this urge and understand why surgery is important to you. 

“I feel like whatever makes the person comfortable with themselves that should be their decision, that’s their body, it’s their mental state,” Cisneros said. “But if you’re getting it because they want to be a part of this trend, then I wouldn’t encourage it.”