Today I want to talk about a very important topic: Social Media Literacy.
With nearly 95% of mobile phone users having at least one social media app they use daily on their phone, it’s no wonder we live, eat and breathe on social.
But not everything looks as it appears. On Sunday night I downloaded an app called “Perfect Me” and in 3 minutes I was able to alter my body to fit society’s expectations of beauty. There were only 3 options: smooth the face, cinch the waist, and enlarge the butt and breasts. Here are the results:
Crazy isn’t it? And obviously I am not a professional, nor am I using professional programs, and I was STILL able to create a believable image to the untrained eye. If it’s not an app- it’s lighting or angles or other tricks of the trade…there are many.
And I bet you just spent the last couple minutes zipping through your feed feeling as if you didn’t measure up to someone else you see on social media.
I remember flipping through the pages of seventeen and Cosmo as a very impressionable pre teen, starving myself and wrecking my mental health to shrink my body to fit what I saw as beautiful because that was all I saw in media. I never once thought the images were altered or even unattainable because it seemed everyone else could achieve this, which led to depression and unworthiness for not being able to master what everyone else had. In a recent study, over 60% of girls aged 13-17 compared themselves to fashion models and women in the media, AND 46% used these images as a body to strive for.
The health, fashion, and beauty industries use edited images and messaging that constantly tries to sell us solutions to a problem they have created in our minds. Unfortunately these apps exist, which makes it easily accessible to impressionable girls to be able to alter themselves to fit societal norms. Which then leads to the perpetuation that we are all perfect online.
I had a follower message me the other day with a realization that she didn’t have to look like the insta-models she sees every day bc in most cases – they don’t even look like themselves. Amen sista friend
Here’s what a few more followers had to say in response to my post:
“mindycityyI completely agree that we need more unedited photos! We need to see real women in more advertising too! Representation matters and it’s so sad that we still have so far to come, even in the plus size fashion world…. they basically say that there is a “right” way to be plus when so many companies use size 10 models for size 14 and up customers. We need modeling agencies to have a larger representation of plus to help make this change…. and more women like you! Thanks for all you do @allisonkimmey“
“happinessinarizonaUhg. These apps are so messed up. It hurts my heart that women feel like they need to use these and that they don’t see how beautiful they are naturally! You are so wonderful and I love how positive and real your posts are! Thank you for doing what you’re doing!”
“ninilarougeThis is extremely important. I feel like in the plus size industry there’s this kind of terrible issue of “socially acceptable/proper plus body”, and this goes then on to retouching pics in order to fit standards. Thank you for your work and your devotion Allison.”
“millie21estradaI love this because so many people think they have to measure up to the beauty standards that the media expects you to be and people dont realize its all not real everything is retouched and we are all beautiful the way we are i was struggling today with body image but after reading this i remembered why i chose recovery!!!!!”
In the end, we all know that social media, nor these apps, are going anywhere. Neither is the pressure for everyone to alter images in the industries in order to be appealing (news flash to brands everywhere: WE WANT TO SEE REAL PEOPLE!) but there is a simple, yet powerful thing that we can demand to see, and that it is to be made aware when an image has been altered by adding a disclaimer on the image. Even though it is prove that even when women DO know it has been altered, they still feel inadequate…it DOES HELP! And any baby steps we can take will eventually create great change! I added one on the image I posted that read “Disclaimer: This photo has been edited to meet society’s expectations of beauty”
Last, babe, you have one job: to just do you.
⚡Shine so bright they can’t help but notice you.
Now go forth babes!