Photo By: Jeremy Bezanger from Unsplash

In today’s day and age, it’s easier than ever to get caught up in social media and become influenced by society’s perception of what it means to be beautiful.

Although these two things go hand-in-hand, there’s so much more that the world has to offer than what society expects of us. In life, there comes a time where we need to decide what brings us joy and what doesn’t and adjust our routines accordingly.

Social media has a greater impact on our lives than we sometimes like to admit, and that impact is often negative.

“I used to look at my sisters and I wondered how they were so beautiful, so photogenic, skinny, and just about everything looked good on them. It used to frustrate me because I wished I was like that for so long and it took me forever to realize how toxic that thought was,” said Amelia Danielle, incoming sociology student. “It made me so mad because I resented them for so long for being so perfect, so pretty, and doing that didn’t make me love myself anymore.”

Recently, there has been a widespread focus on the impacts of social media on one’s mental health. Society and social media create these unrealistic expectations for men and women to be impossibly perfect in appearance, success, all aspects of life, and in society, which can take a huge mental toll. 

Social media platforms like Instagram have a way of creating this unspoken feeling that you need to constantly compare yourself to others or be better than those other people, and that creates an incredibly negative environment.

“We look up to celebrities, people on our social media and a lot of these expectations of beauty and health aren’t even real let alone [achievable],” said Brittany Walker, a mental health worker. “It’s tough because we are constantly comparing ourselves to those around us, our family members, the people we follow on Instagram who portray their best pictures, their best self when in reality we all don’t look our best 100 per cent of the time. We all don’t just roll out of bed with a face full of makeup and perfect hair like Fallon Carrington from Dynasty.” 

Social media is meant to be used to share our lives with those who wish to follow along. It offers an incredible opportunity for people to meet those who are like-minded or who share similar interests. People can share stories about trauma and seek support in so many different ways with social media. These are incredible platforms for people to use their voice, advocate for things they are passionate about or against things they don’t agree with. Social media is supposed to be a safe space for people to post as they wish about whatever they want. 

Unfortunately, it has turned into a platform where everyone compares their lives with others in an incredibly unhealthy way. People take down photos when they don’t receive enough likes, post things they believe other people want to see instead of posting what they truly want to post out of fear of not getting enough likes, and so much more.

People alter their appearance on social media because they want that validation, they want to meet society’s beauty standards and when they can’t, they edit themselves to be able to meet those standards. But that’s not real life, social media is not the “be all end of all” of who we are. People need to remember that they have so much more to offer the world than what society sees of them.

“Our self-love and beauty are innate and eternal and no one can take this from us. It’s time that we stop being immensely consumed with all these facades presented on the platforms or we can simply transcend our insecurities by being truly happy for others, with the full recognition that we’re all one and connected,” said Brock alumnus and spiritualist Ardita Ajvazi. “Let us return back to the truth and remember that the greatest accomplishment in this world is to stay true to ourselves in a world that is constantly trying to change us. This is true power and success that can be cultivated by all of us.” 

A positive take away from social media in the past year or so however is that it’s slowly starting to become a more accessible platform for body positivity than it has been in the past. Viewing body-positive content on social media platforms can most definitely benefit all social media users as we all try to love ourselves again more and more. Hopefully, this trend towards positivity will continue going forward.