Looking Through the Lens of Cultural Differences: How social media in different cultures shape ideal woman body

We all know that how profound the contents on social media could affect our thoughts and further form or sway our existed ideology towards various types of things; the ideal woman body for instance, has always been depicted and transformed into different versions that respectively meets the social expectation of each culture. Social media play an important role in the shaping of the perfect and expected woman body images that implant into people’s minds, making female pursue those body shapes that would help them meet the social expectation as well as build up self-esteem. Let’s take a closer look at how ideal woman body images are being presented on social media among United States and China and how people’s thoughts and behaviors are affected by them.

Among all kinds of social media, Instagram has the strongest photo-orientation; we are more emotional and somehow “inevitable” to contents presented as the form of photography over words. Oftentimes I hear people joking around saying that “United States is all about booty!”, since it doesn’t completely reflect the entire society, it’s still somewhat a true phenomenon on Instagram. The fact is that in United States, girls tend to post photos that emphasize some parts of their bodies (especially butt if they do squat a lot!) that generates an overwhelming social syndrome in which people’s aesthetics toward woman body becomes superficial: a well shaped butt is a must. This interesting article points out how America’s “ideal” butt has changed over times. Perhaps we should really consider if the way we judge a beauty based on partials of her body is a mature way of showing our respect.

The industry of social media celebrity is thriving recently, especially in Asia in these 2 or 3 years or so. We could see increasingly larger number of female and male following social media celebrities to keep up with the mainstream in the public. Among them, there are many celebrities who have done plastic surgeries to beautify themselves. Therefore, those “fashion” followers would take in the ideology and imitate the behaviors, whether consciously or unconsciously. Like this video from BBC portrayed, many girls secretly go to plastic surgery without telling parents to make themselves more “perfect” even though they are actually already pretty enough. Asian generally don’t have the big and abstruse eyes as people from western countries do, but they all want stereo faces and eyes like that. Now in Asia, not to mention Korea where the plastic surgery industry is already well developed, facial plastic surgery (especially for the double eyelid operation) is quite prevalently common as well in China. As mentioned in the article “Why double eyelid surgery is on the rise in Asia: rising incomes and acceptance, and star power of Fan Bingbing, Angelababy”, the famous stars and popular celebrities have great impact on people’s ideology about beauty. “They no longer think plastic surgery is a big deal.” said Cao Jiwu, the president from an aesthetic and plastic hospital.


– by Lixuanpin Liu and Kevin Chou


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