With the growth of social media, young girls are now presented with an even higher standard of beauty due to the constant exposure through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are a great way for people to stay connected to the latest trends. But now that these platforms are saturated with beauty brands and makeup tutorials, some concerns have been raised regarding how this might affect the self image of young girls.
Rachel Brodsky, National Canadian Teen Miss 2016, says the pressure to wear makeup isn’t really the problem, but the insecurity factor has been rising in girls.
“Everyone else I was seeing on TV and all my friends, they all had perfect skin and I didn’t know if it was because they were wearing foundation or what, but I just felt like that was an insecurity,” says Brodsky.
As shown in a 2016 Statista study, more beauty and cosmetic brands are utilizing social networks as a means for marketing and advertising. Nearly all of the major cosmetic brands have an Instagram profile with MAC Cosmetics leading with 16.4 million followers followed by Anastasia Beverly Hills with 14.6 million followers as of September 2017.
YouTube has also played a key role in the online world of cosmetics. Beauty-related content generated more than five billion monthly views on the site between 2009 and 2016.
Social media and mobile devices have made it easier for younger girls to get engulfed in these even more dramatic makeup trends, often making girls look older.
Lori Williams, a Mount Royal University policy studies professor who teaches a women's studies course, says society should become aware of the various beauty influences affecting young girls and teach them self-acceptance.
“Education on what really is possible and a little bit modelling of self-acceptance, affirmation of differences, seeking beauty in a diversity of ways, I think all of those can be helpful,” says Williams.
Through educating young girls on these beauty trends and tendencies, Williams says that this could help them understand that these standards are not always realistic.
“As we get more aware of these kinds of things, there’s a possibility of educating against some of these trends and these tendencies in the actual education system if young girls are allowed to speak a little more, to understand a bit more fully on where this sense of what is beautiful comes from,” says Williams.
While social media sites can encourage an unattainable standard of beauty, this should not be what young girls strive for. As Williams says, they should strive for self-acceptance of themselves with or without the use of makeup.
- By Mahroh Afzal, Mason Benning, Kiah Lucero