Over 78% of young girls suffer from anxiety because of unrealistic beauty standards.
A 2010 study revealed that 9 out of 10 teenage girls felt pressurized to look a certain way. A skinny body, toned legs, fair skin, big butts, and a flat stomach are some of the features that make modern beauty statements.
Social media, beauty magazines, and the fashion industry have also contributed largely to these unrealistic beauty standards. The constant exposure to the standards set by the beauty influencers and the modeling industry has created a wave of low self-esteem, negative self-image, low confidence, anxiety, and several other mental illnesses.
The ever-changing landscape of beauty standards
Beauty standards have always been a very important part of women’s history, the way they looked and felt. And surprisingly, for every era, the definition of perfect beauty kept changing. In the 1930s, it was an obsession with the hourglass figure. In the 1980s, it was long hair and a curvy body. The 1990s were dominated by the standards of pale skin and skinny figures. And the current age of social media is obsessed with flat-toned stomachs, bigger hips, fuller lips, toned legs, colored hair and so much more.
Thus, there has always been this constant pressure on women to look a certain way to fit into the ‘so-called’ beauty bracket. This not only causes unnecessary stress but also affects their self-esteem, confidence, self-image, and mental health. Some women have gone to an unhealthy extent to meet these standards, be it cosmetic surgery or unhealthy eating. These unrealistic beauty standards have resulted in severe health issues.
The effect of social media on beauty
Women have always lived under the pressure to look a certain way. But with social media, this pressure has exploded. With many photo-sharing sites like Instagram or Snapchat portraying unrealistic, edited, filtered images, women, especially young girls experience higher levels of anxiety when it comes to their body image. Several studies have shown that women who spend more time on social media are at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and fear of non-acceptability.
Social media and body image
Social media has created a platform for body comparisons that has negatively impacted many who were already suffering from body image issues. The unrealistic tips on weight loss or fair skin have also resulted in serious health issues. There have been many cases of anorexia, skin allergies, eating disorders, mood disorders, heart complications, and even death. Apart from these physical health complications, the effect of social media on mental health issues is also significant. The cases of depression, anxiety, and low self-image have seen a huge spike in this social media era.
10 Tips to overcome these unrealistic beauty standards
The first step to overcoming the anxiety and fear associated with beauty is ‘to accept’. Accept your body, accept your flaws, and accept who you are. Beauty does not lie in being perfect or fitting into certain standards, but in happiness and contentment. Here are 10 tips that can help you overcome the unrealistic beauty standards set by society.
Tips to overcome unrealistic beauty standards
Beauty lies in rarity and each one of us is a rare piece. There is no one like us. The day you accept this fact, you will no longer feel the urge to run after trends and standards. Many young girls, women, and men feel dissatisfied with their looks and they try to follow or imitate the appearance of their ideal, a model or an influencer. This creates undue pressure and discontentment. Acceptance is the key to being happy!
Go on a Social Media Detox
Being on social media is proven to be detrimental to mental health. And spending too much time on social media causes lethargy, mood disorders, sleep disorders, and unhealthy eating habits. Thus, going for a social media detox is the perfect way to break free of this vicious cycle. It not only keeps you away from negativity and self-doubt but also gives you ample time to work on yourself.
Indulge in Positive Messages
While there is a downside to social media, there is also a bright side to it. Many sites, influencers, and even celebrities are promoting and advocating body positivity. There are a number of blogs, movies, and documentaries that empowers body positivity and helps women and men see themselves as worthy. Seek out those sources, focus on the good things, and build your own confidence.
Read self-help books
Self-help books can really help in building self-esteem and confidence. These books help you understand the benefits of building self-esteem and give you constructive ways to do that. They teach you the benefits of positive self-talk and teach you how to ways to handle the self-critic within you. This not only helps you feel good about yourself but also helps in building a strong personality.
Try positive affirmations
A negative self-image can impact your mental and physical health. Positive affirmations can help you in breaking free of the boundaries of beauty standards. Find at least five things about your body that makes you feel grateful and write them in a diary. You can also write about the things that you want to work on. Like exercising for weight loss, or natural skincare for better skin health. This will help you feel more content in your own body.
Being judgemental about someone else’s beauty or appearance also puts on pressure on yourself to look a certain way. Shatter the glass barrier by looking beyond people’s appearance. See the beauty in all shapes and sizes and this practice will help you accept yourself in a better wholesome.
Find what you are good at
Focus on the good and good shall happen. This is the law of attraction. You may not look flawless but you can be flawless in your morals, character, conduct, and work. And there is a different kind of satisfaction when you excel in these facets of life. Anyone can hide behind filters and make-up, but to be truly beautiful from the inside is a rare thing.
Seek professional help
Sometimes, the feeling of not fitting in can result in depression and anxiety, especially among teen girls. The changed body is also one of the major reasons for postpartum depression. If you are suffering from mental health issues due to body image, then it’s best to seek out professional help.
The beauty standards of society are not only absurd but also toxic. They are unattainable, overly sexualized, and unhealthy. The beauty image portrayed by the media and fashion industry is not even real. The flaws are covered with professional makeup, lighting, editing, and filters. Thus, spending your time, energy, and money to look a certain way makes no sense. It is rather the healthy skin, healthy hair, and a healthy body that a person should aim for, not the toned abs or the waxed toned legs.