Social expectations of perfection need to change

        Illustration by Anthony Lazon/The ETCetera



What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up? Brush your teeth? Make breakfast? Or do you check your phone to see who liked the picture you posted before bed last night? 

Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and so many other platforms are all just a tap away, allowing you to show off your figure, art, pets, business, etc. These are places we can go to escape our daily lives of paperwork and responsibilities. But there’s a downside to our social media dependence.

Not only are these sites filling up with constant self-promotion and links to buy countless amounts of products, but they have also become a popular place to advertise plastic surgery, crazy diets and luxurious lifestyles.

Our generation has been sucked into a social media wormhole that fills our minds with constant self-doubt and has constructed a craving for validation from people we don’t even know. But social media isn’t alone in holding an influence over us. Television, movies and magazines can have the same effects.

Many of us are filled with hidden insecurities and we want to know how we can become more like the “perfect” people we see online. I want to have glowing skin. I want to own designer bags. I want big breasts, a small waist and a big butt just like the Instagram models I see online every day, because for some reason it seems like those are the only things people care about and notice online. 

As a young woman in her mid 20s, I speak from personal experience when I say that spending an excessive amount of time online can be mildly brainwashing. I have always battled with extreme body insecurities and feeling comfortable in my own skin. 

My addiction to altering my appearance started years ago with trying juice cleanses and extreme fad diets. But in the last three months I have made major modifications to my face and body. 

I have spent thousands of dollars on clothes, make up, skincare products and vacations just to keep up with or mimic fantasy lifestyles. I have endured lip, nose and under-eye filler, Botox injections and even breast augmentation surgery just to feel happier with who I am and what I look like. 

And it’s all because social media has planted a bug in my head that says the way I looked before wasn’t good enough. 

Having this mindset is a daily struggle. I’m aware that I’ve been throwing away money and that the changes made to my body only create temporary feelings of happiness until the next fad comes along. 

During this process I’ve learned that our opinions on what “perfect” looks like need to change. We need to pay less attention to people like Jeffree Star, Trisha Paytas and the Kardashians, who flaunt their money and have made dozens of modifications to their bodies. We should pay more attention to people like Ashley Graham, Beyonce and Anna Victoria, who share the same aspirations to use their social media platforms to promote body positivity, female empowerment and equality. We need to see more of this.

Following advocates who encourage us to embrace our natural bodies is one step in the right direction. For me, following a positive influence and unfollowing an unrealistic one has been a minor help. 

Because I am aware of my addiction and my insecurities, I know the next step for me is to seek professional help and talk to someone about the way I feel rather than run to a med spa every time an insecurity pops up. 

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