Public Relations Research Methods

Introduction to Unrealistic Beauty Standards Portrayal

Beauty standards have been in tradition from a long time and have been prominent in making the women crave for the best out of the makeup. Cosmetics or the beauty products have been one of the most sorted out expenditure for women of all groups and ages. With recent upsurge and upgrade in the social media, there has been a huge transformation in the beauty standard. The social media has been a model transformer on this and the influencers all over the globe come up with different sorts of changes and transformation that sometimes might not match the reality of the body. There are several ways by which the influencers get across the makeup tricks in highlighting the standards. There are more of the negative influences on the people, their body and their mental health. The influences can go upto a long way and affect almost every sphere of life. The following research would include qualatitative method of researching for all the prospective effects, ethics and the procedures followed in the unrealistic beauty standards and how much danger does it probe on a psychological basis.

Unrealistic Beauty Standards

When beauty is mentioned, it is something that has been defining the personality of the population from ancient times. Beauty has been part of the lives of humans from ancient eras and it is an undeniable part of the body. Beauty is a vital part of the female persona and in order to enhance that, various measures are taken naturally and artificially. In the recent time, there have been many invented devices that have been in use in order to enhance the beauty standards of women. But with the sudden emergence and excessive use of social media and the influencers who come up with different unrealistic beauty standards have affected the population on global level. In order to increase followers and gain on monetary basis, there are lots of standards that are not good and are actually undercover beauty tactics. Unrealistic beauty standards have become a plague to society. Unrealism of the beauty standards have emerged in a few years to a greater extent. The social media sights and the mass media have provided opportunities to the people to portray their talent. As it is known to all that the media boon as well as a curse. The effects are sometimes overwhelming and people get addicted to what they see and experience. The influencers who are active on social media through various platforms show many tricks and steps to have the perfect looks. The youth irrespective of gender follow them and their styles. The influencers use many types of editing and application software for making the image so perfect that it seems normal for others to achieve. The reality is different. The images and the reality altogether varies. It puts a lot of negative effects on the people including their mental and physical health.

According to Nagar & Virk, (2017), the rampant use of different beauty tricks by influencers attract a lot of attention. The attention that is grabbed is influenced and hence the habits and attributes are adapted by the audience and viewers. The influencers use tricks of makeup and photoshop on a frank basis and the appearances make the people more dissatisfied. Not with the videos, but advertisements as well make the viewers uncomfortable and insecure. In the competition to look better and gorgeous, the emphasis is given more on making the same thing look good over the own body. The influencers and the social media make their products selling by making the viewer feel insecure and this insecurity leads to promotion of the product and selling and marketing at a high level (Nagar & Virk, 2017).

It does not end with the selling of brands, it also overrelates with the fact that the fixation of the makeup and the following of recent trends can make people vulnerable and they end up buying products for following the social media trends.

The trend does not end with buying the products. As stated by Delle Baite, (2019), when the products do not show the same and sufficient effect on the public, there is a building up of dysmorphia in relation to the beauty standard that become unattainable and these effects not only women but also men who strive to achieve some standards of beauty treatment. Apart from using cosmetics and beauty products, there are many other treatments that are portrayed of good value on social media sites. The influencers as well promote those with full confidence and goodwill. But the reality is the treatments do not work the same for all. The treatments may be good for one and worst for others (Delle Baite, 2019). According to Hendrickse et al., (2017), the social media sites play an important role in displaying such standards and the application such as Facebook and instagram plays an important role in displaying the standards (Hendrickse et al., 2017).

The standards are not limited to only the female population, the effect is potentially almost the same for the male population. The male population try to achieve the body postures and figure that are demonstrated on the media by the influencers. The body postures are such that it cannot be achieved easily and it requires steroids and other injecting materials. The normal population strives harder in terms of finances and the physical stress. The stress so caused leads to loss of management of finances and the mental peace.

There are several bloggers and influencers who deem to show such body types that cannot be achieved easily and instigate the viewers to have such changes in the body. There are many side effects of those changes and the people genuinely do that without thinking about the effects that would have on their body (Delle Baite, 2019).

As stated by Rajanala et al., (2018)As far as social media influence is concerned, the most important platform for social interaction has been Facebook for a decade with billions of users. Another popular photo sharing application Instagram has millions of users and it has settings that post edited photos or rather selfies with many features for enhancing the face and beauty. The majority is the age group is from 18 to 30 years and these age groups are more prone to these unnatural beauty standards inflictments and cause mental tensions and disagreement. This happens when they use the applications for posting good looking pictures of themselves but the happiness and positivity is not long term because the excitement fades away when they get a reality check (Rajanala et al., 2018).

Impact of Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Girls have been facing serious issues of changed body images and these influences lead to eating disorders in the women who try to gain the standards that are shown on social media. This also occurs in relation to the social comparison theory. Social comparison theory postulates that humans have a desire to self-evaluate things without any objective measurement of possible attributes, in comparing one with another. To some extent, the social comparison has been affecting the human mind in determining body dissatisfaction thereby leading to the unfavourable self evaluation. According to Hanus & Fox, (2015), it has been included in one of the determining factors of dissatisfaction in minds. The theory is very much relatable because the social gatherings offer a lot of situations where the comparison are done within the groups and the ones who are not with the appropriate figure is made to feel undergone a lot of discrimination and topic of discussion. The attributes lend to initial trying of the trends followed by getting addicted to the trends in order to achieve the perfect figure and the beauty standards which lead to mental and physical agony (Hanus & Fox, 2015).

The second framework that can explain the negative effect of the social media in dispersing the beauty standards is the “self discrepancy theory”. As stated by Holland & Tiggemann, (2016), this purpose holds that the attributes in has and the attributes one needs to acquire. The problem arises when there is a clash between these attributes where the body needs are one sided and the things needed to achieve are on the other side. The clash between ideal self and actual self makes a negative impact on the minds of the youth and that may include disappointment, sadness, loss of self esteem and negative outlook towards the behaviour. It also leads to negative impact on the cognitions and emotions of the human mind. There are several amounts of change in the behavioural aspects of the human mind. The feeling of anxiety and guilt starts to accumulate and a feeling of discomfort arises and triggers mental maladjustment and depression of not being able to have what is desired (Holland & Tiggemann, 2016).

Further research on the media influencers on body satisfaction mainly is focused on the discomfort of the ideal self. As stated by Fardouly & Holland, (2018) in their journal research, people fail to recognize the actual attributes of their body and seek to gain whatever is seen. This can lead to change in eating habits such as restrictions in front of others, trying to go for the food items that are not suitable and can lead to other health problems. This is all due to how social media influences the mental health of the followers. The other psychological instances are when one knows the actual scene behind the transformation, there is again a revolution of guilt and regret of following what was not meant to be. The images are labelled and digitally altered to increase the attention of the attributes and make others feel that it is one thing that must be possessed by the others. The reinforcement of the changes can lead to imbalance of the diet and when people start taking the changes through a vascular and injected way, the body suffers and it leads to a lot of morphological changes and some changes are so harsh that it continues to be the way it is. The social media must stop enhancing and promoting such unreal images of the body that are just a result of editing rather than the actual working out of the body in a healthy way (Fardouly & Holland, 2018).

Many people judge themselves on the basis of the beauty standards that are being portrayed. This is all due to the society and comparison that the people tend to pose to others when they come in interaction with others in the society. Many women pretend to be positive on an explicit level but cannot maintain the same at implicit and unconscious level. Research by MacCallum & Widdows, (2016), expresses that people automatically start comparing with others in all aspects. The comparison is done whenever there are social gatherings and the comparison leads to dissatisfaction as all are different in their ways. These are unrealistic ways of comparison because it must be understood that all are different in all ways and doing it would only bring dissatisfaction and lowering of self esteem. This leads to adoption of unrealistic beauty standards and finally engulfing into the extreme level of portraying attractiveness using all delusional means that portray harm to the body in future (MacCallum & Widdows, 2016).

In order to achieve such body types it becomes important to follow a strict diet, or strenuous forms of exercise that can lead to several body damages such as lowering of appetite and dissatisfaction. Mills et al., (2017), states in their research that the maximum number of images that are published in magazines and newspapers are actually altered images and the photographs are cropped and different parts of the models are chopped off and dedicated in order to show them slim and photo perfect. These realities must be portrayed in order to take the truth out of the box (Mills et al., 2017). These facts can help remove the craze of the fake and unrealistic beauty standards that circulate in social media platforms and help in removing the danger posed on the society as whole. 

Social media is a strong medium and the messages that are circulated are also strongly illustrated on global level. The reality check about the editing and cropping of the image can also not be useful in stopping the following of the trend unless the message is portrayed in strong opinion that must include the disadvantages and dangers. According to the research by Levine, (2017) , it was seen that even knowing the reality of the edited images did not stop men and women from achieving the image of the body or beauty standards. The media must communicate the message strongly in order to have the maximum influence. The youth specially get affected at a larger basis as they always tend to face social comparison and in order to maintain the lookout of the people, they unknowingly affect themselves mentally and psychologically. A strong behavioural change is also discovered and assumed in the youth (Levine, 2017).

According to Kholmogorova et al., (2017), the trials in attaining such a body requires a lot of transformation in the body in terms of taking steroids, fat burners and even injections. The malleability of the beauty standards have risen to such levels that there is a sudden increase in the adaptation of such tricks. These probe long term influence. Even the advertisements nowadays try to portray the skirmish figures and images just to enroll their products in order to get them on sale. The influence is such that the target viewers are bound to buy them whether it affects them or not. The effects can be varied because as mentioned, it is different on different bodies (Kholmogorova et al., 2017). As stated by Maymone and his colleagues in their journal research, this not only includes the injections or beauty products, but also the cosmetic surgery that helps in changing the natural borne features of the body. Many entertainment actors follow these methods and even the social media influencers give a thumbs up to these procedures. The cosmetic surgeon has also been on increase due to the demands of the enauty standards. People do take help of these surgeons and try in enhancing the features in order to make up with the societal pressures of the beauty standards (Maymone et al.,2019).

Conclusion on Unrealistic Beauty Standards Portrayal

To sum up, the unrealistic standards of beauty are posing harmful effects on the body and mind of both genders. There are levels of theories and infliction on the human minds and body that may lead to discomfort and maladjustments. The standards have been so much generalised that it is impossible to ignore them. They are everywhere on social media and on android phones. It poses harmful effects on the body and discontent feelings arise when it is deemed to be accepted but does not show the same results as seen in others. It can be concluded that the unrealistic beauty standards are portrayed by influencers on social media and does put negative effects on the people.

References for Unrealistic Beauty Standards Portrayal

Delle Baite, N. (2019). Delicate resurgence and divine embodiment: conceptual photographic portraits of women’s divine beauty. Creative Industries Journal, 12(2), 229–246.

‌Fardouly, J., & Holland, E. (2018). Social media is not real life: The effect of attaching disclaimer-type labels to idealized social media images on women’s body image and mood. New Media & Society, 20(11), 4311–4328.

Hanus, M. D., & Fox, J. (2015). Assessing the effects of gamification in the classroom: A longitudinal study on intrinsic motivation, social comparison, satisfaction, effort, and academic performance. Computers & Education, 80, 152–161.

Hendrickse, J., Arpan, L. M., Clayton, R. B., & Ridgway, J. L. (2017). Instagram and college women’s body image: Investigating the roles of appearance-related comparisons and intrasexual competition. Computers in Human Behavior, 74, 92–100.

‌Holland, G., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). A systematic review of the impact of the use of social networking sites on body image and disordered eating outcomes. Body Image, 17, 100–110.

Kholmogorova, A., Tarhanova, P., & Shalygina, O. (2017). Standards of physical beauty and mental health in children and young people in the era of the information revolution. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 11(1), 87–98.

‌‌‌Levine, M. (2017). Perception of Beauty. In Google Books. Retrieved from

‌MacCallum, F., & Widdows, H. (2016). Altered Images: Understanding the Influence of Unrealistic Images and Beauty Aspirations. Health Care Analysis, 26(3), 235–245.

Maymone, M. B. C., Laughter, M., Dover, J., & Vashi, N. A. (2019). The malleability of beauty: perceptual adaptation. Clinics in Dermatology, 37(5), 592–596.

‌‌Mills, J. S., Shannon, A., & Hogue, J. (2017). Beauty, Body Image, and the Media. Perception of Beauty.

Nagar, I., & Virk, R. (2017). The Struggle Between the Real and Ideal. SAGE Open, 7(1), 215824401769132.

‌Rajanala, S., Maymone, M. B. C., & Vashi, N. A. (2018). Selfies—Living in the Era of Filtered Photographs. JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, 20(6), 443.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Marketing Assignment Help

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