It is no secret that social media has blurred the line between actuality and virtuality .The first and foremost thing that most of us instinctively do once we wake up in the morning is promptly grab our phones. It is as plain as a pikestaff that most of the things we see on social media are a sham but still we are subsumed in the virtual world, which is why it is inching us on the verge of a mental conflict.
To put it more plainly, all the likes, comments and shares on social media have become a social currency through which we attribute value to others and ourselves. By doing so, we are implicitly rendering other people the power to control our feelings and it affects the way in which we evaluate our self worth. Our sentiments are sort of dependent on their opinion of us. We simply emulate what our peers are pursuing and in an attempt to avoid social ostracism, we tussle to follow the fake pursuit of perfection to fit in the society. Not to mention, we are desperately seeking validation and are skeptical about our own attributes. To make the matter worse, social media is setting unrealistic beauty standards which are scathing our psyche.
Aren’t we all cognizant of this contemporary condition? The Internet has utterly distorted the reality regarding body images and beauty standards. Everything we see over the internet is an exaggeration which profoundly influences our idea of an ideal body type. Applications like Instagram and Snapchat offer a plethora of image editing filters that ruin our self-perception and affect our sanity. In order to attain a flawless face and figure, every person undergoes a cognitive conflict. These filters subtly alter and accentuate the facial features in literally less than a minute that makes a photo less realistic rather elusive. This hooks up the attention of Gen Z considerably, in the wake of which we are unable to refrain ourselves from using beautified photos. There is a sense of discomfiture in sharing unadulterated pictures.
Speaking of beauty filters, Snapchat Dysmorphia is one such trend wherein youngsters are willing to get plastic surgery due to their obsession with filters. Their desire to attain that filtered version of themselves is a cause of concern in many ways. It is staggering to see that some people are willing to squander more money on their looks than on their education. Moreover, it’s like a maze with no escape.
Beauty is a subjective topic and there are a ton number of things that people try to meet a specific beauty standard. This leads to major detrimental dysfunctional issues such as BDD ( body dysmorphic disorder) and other mental and eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia and intermittent fasting which makes the patient highly conscious of his or her body weight. The aforementioned disorders impel people to modify their physical self which in itself is pernicious. People are neglecting the power of carrying their flaws with confidence and are trapped in this maze of attaining physical perfection.
Another term associated with this subject is the Male Gaze, coined by a British filmmaker and feminist, Laura Mulvey, who denounced the Hollywood Cinema in 1975 by pointing out the adverse effects of Male gaze on women in the acting fraternity. Male gaze is the manner in which a female is portrayed from a male’s point of view and this gaze, through a male lens makes a woman conscious about her bodily features. The prime problem with this industry is that it’s all a charade and everything is done merely to please the spectators. In this entire process, the impact of male gaze on the psychology of the actor and spectator is overlooked.
It is pretty palpable that the business of beauty is super scary and pathetic. It makes us diffident without cosmetics and a tempting body texture. The persistent pressure that we put on ourselves to keep up with the online trends has become a morbid cycle which is undermining our mental health tremendously. The facade of fame, fascination and flawless physical features that is rampant all over the internet carries its own cons which brims the spectators with discontent.
Life is hard and adulting is even harder. The bare minimum we can do to elude this dejection is to accept our physical self as it is. We ought to fixate our focus on progress rather than perfection. It sounds quite hard but is sorely imperative to choose a healthy lifestyle in the real world. We should endeavour to attain our aims instead of getting trapped in the web of lies woven by the tech-driven world. We need to break this chain of non-viable toxic beauty standards because no matter how hard we try there will always be some standard of beauty that we are not meeting.
Maintaining an unhealthy diet and skipping meals to attain that perfect zero figure can’t help us fix it. Instead, it only worsens our physical as well as emotional well-being and impedes our overall growth. We need to keep in mind that nobody can make us feel inferior without our consent. All we need to do is discard these redundant beauty concepts and feel comfortable in our own skin . After all, self appreciation and acceptance is key to a stable mindset. The steering wheel of life is in our hands and only we get to decide how we want to mould our mind.
Ilma Mujeeb is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.