Social media is undeniably part of our lives. It's deeply intertwined with our views on both ourselves and the world around us. And especially for a millennial taking part in the ever-developing world, it can be hard not to fall into the pressure of subscribing to the body images that this platform cultivates. Sure, it has encouraged and inspired a number of #bodypositive campaigns. But sometimes, even a sea of self-love can be poisoned by one drop of insecurity. The result? A propaganda advocating unrealistic beauty standards.
Girls need to be everything according to society. Beauty and brains are essential characteristics that people expect from us, but how about brawn? And more importantly, how about mental power? Social media has birthed everything from pointless but entertaining cat videos to psychologically damaging criterion for what denotes appeal. There's no way to stop the constant stream of new trends flowing into the system, but what we can do is learn how to swim against the current. There's nothing wrong with choosing to better ourselves, but if we do this for the sake of adhering to the rules of the Internet, we will lose ourselves in a pit of a never-ending lack of self-acceptance. So to prevent us from being influenced by these measurements, we must first figure out how to tell the difference between a socially enforced demand for change and personal desire to grow.
Long Hair, Don't Care
First rising to fame when Twitter user @bfnh the term and instantly garnered the attention of hundreds of curious users, the #LongHairDontCare movement was one of the first online-cultivated beauty standards that had impacted and spread like wildfire. Girls from all over the world ditched their pixie cuts and flouncy bobs for luscious locks that hung just a few centimeters above their hips, easily making '09 Earth a coast for walking mermaids. And years later, what started out as an innocent nudge to Lil Wayne's lyric in Get It Shawty, is now an international staple in magazines, hair extension services' taglines, and arbitrary Instagram captions.
Without a single doubt, 2013 was most certainly the year of the thigh gap. Some may argue that the desire to have a gap between one's thighs to display how thin she is has been an image placed on models and public figures ever since the 80s, but in this year, all sorts of women and teen girls alike decided to join the bandwagon.
When an anonymous 4chan user decided the world was lacking at least one more ridiculous and unrealistic beauty standard, they decided to take matters to their own hands and create one. Using Photoshopped Buzzfeed articles, celebrity tweets, and other relatively influential mediums of popularization, the internet immediately seized the idea of celebrating the space one gets between their bikini bottom and hip bones when lying down and created a propaganda out of it. Regardless if they were advocating or admonishing it, bikini bridge was still a sure criterion for socially-acceptable beauty in the year 2014.
Eyebrows on Fleek
"Up in this b****, gon' get crunk, eyebrows on fleek, the f***, the f***" -- Despite the distracting (but completely necessary) censors, unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last 2 years, then you most probably recognized that line and read it in the voice of viral Vine star, Peaches Monroee. Within only 5 mere months, the video she posted of her admiring her "on fleek" eyebrows (aka, when your brows are undeniably well-groomed) became an online sensation. Surpassing its status as an internet meme, the term had graduated to become a worldwide phenomenon, becoming an official member of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as an adjective used in professional fashion and lifestyle publications. It even has various songs dedicated to it.
Kylie Jenner Lips
Although the Kardashians have been around since 2007, Kylie Jenner's lips only started becoming a subject of controversy in late 2014 when the tabloid princess began a mysterious transition from thin straight lips to plump puckers while claiming they were still au naturale. But besides the outburst of publicity that came with the youngest Jenner's iconic alteration, as a public figure and beauty icon for girls and boys of all ages and races, an instant rise in the want for fuller lips became popular among citizens.
The want for a curvaceous shape is far from a new notion to us, so it wasn't too shocking when rap songs and social media began dictating beauty as "same-circumference busts and hips, plus a well-defined waist" again, but this time forgoing the "hourglass figure" terminology and opting for it's new and improved nickname—thicc. (This is also a reincarnation of the 2001-originating body image obsession over getting that #bootylicious tush!)
From Instagram stars to A-list celebrities, long and perfectly manicured nails have made a notable impact on the citizens of the social media community. Gone are the days when the epitome of feminine beauty was short, clean nails to top off a delicate hand. Because in this era, anyone wanting to upgrade their look and instantly attract attention just needs to take a trip to the nail salon or—for us more, er, struggling individuals—purchase some uber chic (and uber cheap!) slip ons to achieve that million-dollar manicure feel.
What beauty trends did you learn from social media?