The Live Life Unfiltered Campaign Is Rewriting Ideal Beauty Standards
Social media has the power to shape young and developing minds across the world. What an amazing creation social media is to be able to speak to whoever, whenever and wherever! Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat have so much potential to educate and inspire humanity. However, social media has become a toxic place for many of us, as it creates ideal beauty standards to shape our concepts of what is beautiful in a narrow, negative way.
- The live life unfiltered campaign aims to inspire many to be confident in showing their natural and authentic selves.
- A lot of mental health issues are directly associated with an increased time spent on social media, especially within adolescents.
- Rewriting the “ideal beauty standards” and how social media portrays this is key to helping the mental health of our youth, as well as people around the world.
The Live Life Unfiltered Campaign
Luckily for us, there are many advocates out there striving to change and rewrite the ideal beauty standards and social media narratives. The Live Life Unfiltered campaign is exactly that!
The Live Life Unfiltered campaign was started by twin sisters, Teagan and Keisha Simpson. They share their story, on their website and on social media, of feeling anxious and struggling with their body image while “comparing themselves to the perfect, happy, and confident girls on Instagram.” After years of struggling, they finally had a realization: the comparisons they were making between them and the girls on Instagram were unrealistic, since those photos were usually edited, filtered, or posed.
This realization inspired their movement. The goal is for internet users across the world to understand the fake narrative social media portrays. Their vision is to “remind women that Instagram is often not a realistic representation of who we are as individuals.” They also aspire to change the way people interact with social media, rather than just get rid of it as a whole.
The movement also turned into a challenge, where they encouraged other people to post an unfiltered image of themselves with the hashtag "#AsSheIs". Through this hashtag, thousands of people have shared their stories and been vulnerable to how social media has hurt their mental health, and the way they are healing and becoming a more confident version of themselves.
Death by Beauty Standard
Social media has been the downfall of the past few generations when it comes to mental health and body image. MANY scientific journals have published research on how social media has drastically lowered people's sleep quality, especially with teens (the generation that uses social media most). It is also directly correlated with an increase in anxiety, depression, and low-self esteem.
So how does social media harness the power to destroy the mental health of so many people around the world, especially women? They’re just photos, right? Well, edited and filtered photos posted by influencers and models can lead young and vulnerable kids to question why they don’t look similar to these altered photos. The constant exposure to these virtually impossible beauty standards that social media has created, causes women to disproportionately feel dissatisfied with themselves and their body image.
The modeling industry on social media has played a huge role in an increase in eating disorders over the past few decades with the advancement of social media. For example, these perfectly tall, thin, hourglass, “smooth” airbrushed model pictures that rule social media, have started an unnatural beauty standard of having to be perfectly skinny without any stretch marks or scars. These images have the power to wreck girls, boys, women's, and men's body image, to the point where they may develop an eating disorder trying to attain these unrealistic beauty ideals.
Since beauty standards are so twisted recently, many women feel the pressure to also edit the images they post. According to an interview on the Ted Radio Hour on beauty ideals, “one of the most popular photo editing apps, Facetune, reportedly had 20% more usage, as they say, at the start of the pandemic,” (NPR). This shows that people are “facetuning” their photos more, whether that is smoothing out acne, brightening the skin, and thinning out their bodies to try to look more like the unattainable beauty standards social media highlights.
How Social Media and Ideal Beauty Standards Connect
Nowadays the beauty industry fully relies on social media to market their brands. Social media helps beauty brands to find influencers to further use the platform to market their brand, as well as target a more specific audience. Likewise, influencers have even taken it upon themselves to start their own beauty lines using their own brands to contribute to the beauty industry.
Social media is now also offering consumers quicker ways to purchase their beauty products. When a consumer follows an influencer promoting a certain beauty item or brand, they have the ability to click right on that photo to purchase the item. A lot of companies are starting to sell directly from social media, which is increasing the connection between the beauty industry and social media. A lot of the beauty industry puts their products right on to altered photos of models with unattainable beauty standards, hoping that the consumer believes that they can look like them if they purchase their product.
Rewrite the Stars
Rewriting beauty standards is necessary to start improving the mental health of many young and older people everywhere. We need to rewrite beauty ideals to be seen as an open book, rather than an instruction manual.
The first step to rewriting our society’s “beauty ideals” is to emulate what the Live Life Unfiltered campaign is doing, and begin to celebrate and love all different types of bodies, skin, hair, and faces. Young girls and boys should feel empowered and confident as they scroll through social media, and not feel the need to facetune their photos to feel good about their appearance.
While the power of social media can be used for great things, we need to take a step back and look at the negative toll it is taking on thousands of people around the world. There should be no specific way anyone should have to look like to feel confident in themselves. At the end of the day, most people only post the best version of themselves or their life onto social media, and even then sometimes those things are lies. We all need to help the movement the Simpson twins created by following in their footsteps and posting our real selves and lives on social media. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful and celebrated, and rewriting this narrative starts with us!
Written by Emma Carlson