Social media has always been a dictator for how young adults view themselves or view others. However, lately it seems to be dictating the younger and older generations. Social media has changed not only generations, but cultures as well. All the “do’s” and “don’ts” are given to these people through social media as well as control on who to accept and who should be “outcasts.” Based on how much people weigh, how tall they are, the color of theirs skin, creases in their face are all factors into how society views them, and sadly, how they it is congruent to how they view themselves. As mentioned in the Illusionist video, “we are trying to embody ‘exotic beauty,’ the westernized image, because that is where power comes from.” It is explained in this video that white supremacy has influenced many parts of the world through social media, commercial and ads.
Especially in Asians, people are obsessed with “exotic beauty”. In China, girls with typical westernized characteristics are the paradigm in mainstream media. Oftentimes, media producers even make white models as the cover of a magazine, on a billboard, or on the posters of native cloth brand. The media influence is so profound that even my mom always scold at me because of my sunspot, which is a big blemish on my face. In Korea, the situation is even severe. A lot of girls and even some guys put on makeups that make them look more “white”. According to this article, a lot of male Korean superstars also wear makeups. Korean guys want to look like them either because their girlfriends like the superstar or themselves want to be like them. In addition, probably due to the long history of most Asian countries, Asians incline to place everyone in a social hierarchy. The “exotic beauty”, such as “White skin” with tall nose bridge, and big eyes emblematize upper class with good education, lots of money, and higher status. Therefore, everyone wants to squeeze into the procession of being more surpassed, even if the person is ostensibly more superior.
Social media standards portray what an ideal image is for people of all ages, race and gender. People aim to reach these standards. In doing so, they might engage in behavior such as unhealthy dieting, skin bleaching or undergo dangerous surgeries. It is signaling to them that anything less than is not acceptable. According to CNN, being different or looking different is one of the common reasons why kids get bullied.
It is really an issue because as students, we are aware that social media consumption is increasing among all people. Therefore, it should not provoke insecurities about our bodies that could negatively impact our physical or mental health. It is important to involve people in conversations about consuming social media because we need to be reminded that we can fight back unrealistic standards.
By Wen Yung Keh, Sovisal Sen, Bailin Zhang