Media influences us, whether we are aware of it or not. For myself, media influences how I see beauty and if you’ve noticed the standard, many of us don’t fit it (including me).
In particular, social media has a large impact on how I see beauty because I not only watch it but I actively interact with it. For the most part, it lowers my self-esteem. I look at models, actors, and actresses on screen and just stare in admiration but in turn I stare at myself with disgust.
Many of the people I see also have very similar body types which creates this image of what is “ideal”. Seeing only one type of body in the media tells me that this is what is valued and thought of as beautiful. Seeing such large eyes, thin waists, and light skin were just some of the things I grew envious of.
After seeing the same images over and over I began to compare myself to these standards of beauty and became more critical of how I looked.
Seeing these images on a consistent basis acted as a reminder for me that I am lacking in the beauty department. The constant photo after photo of these people who are deemed beautiful from the masses makes me think that the only way to be worth something is to look like them.
I started to feel horrible about myself that it got to the point where I had trouble looking people in the eyes because I felt so self-conscious. I decided to do something about it, I realized that a lot of these negative thoughts and criticism came from being on social media. So I stopped using all my social media platforms for a week.
I noticed a significant change in my attitude, I was more optimistic, more content with my looks, and I wasn’t always picking out flaws because I wasn’t being exposed to what was considered flaws, as shown on social media.
Soon, a week turned into two weeks, then a month. I also noticed I started sleeping better and that I was being more productive since my eyes weren’t always glued to a screen all day.
Now it’s your turn, I challenge you stay off social media for a week.
That’s right. Don’t go on social media AT ALL. Before you log off think about the things you are exposed to when on social media, think about what affects you and why it’s good or bad. After you complete the week, write down how it felt for you and if anything changed and if you will continue to do this or maybe change your routine.
I know, it seems very contradicting to stay off social media then use it as the platform to express your thoughts, and if you decide to continue living without social media, that’s perfectly fine. But, even though social media has it’s flaws and can cause issues when consumed too much, it is a great tool for allowing us to share, educate and learn, and can be a healthy part of your life when used in moderation. If you choose to return to social media, we would love to hear how your challenge went.
Remember to really reflect as this will help you get a better experience out of it. Use the hashtag #ConnecTeenChallenge and #TakeABreak to share your experience.