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Let’s Talk About TikTok

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Author: August Clarke

TikTok has gradually been taking the world by storm. It’s nearly impossible to deny the addictive nature of the app. (I, too, have found myself scrolling for hours on end some nights … it’s wild!).

No matter how much I may enjoy the app, I think it’s important to acknowledge some of the more toxic qualities of the app, particularly when it comes to body image. Unfortunately, TikTok isn’t all lighthearted dances and comedic skits. Every time I open the app I see “trends” posted that are either shaming or applauding certain body types or physical characteristics. There are tons of videos calling attention to insecurities people have about themselves where they say things like “I just found out that _________ is the beauty standard” or “does anyone else have this super weird [insert physical characteristic]?”

I was both shocked and disturbed at how easily TikTok can arouse insecurity around having certain qualities or physical characteristics that are completely normal.

It’s hard not to get caught up in it all. Even the “Never Have I Ever” trend can cause teens using the app to feel self-conscious about things they have or have not done. This is ridiculous to me because it puts so much pressure on teens to act a certain way when, in reality, we all move at our own pace in life and there’s no set checklist of items that you should have completed by the end of high school to be considered “on track” or “normal.” Unfortunately, its not always the things promoting healthy body positivity or calling attention to the wide range of teen experiences that go viral.

If you find that using TikTok makes you feel bad about yourself, there are a couple things you can do to get away from it.

The first, most obvious way would be to take some time away from the app entirely. Sometimes taking a break every now and then is enough to bring you the objectivity you need to feel confident in yourself. However, if you know yourself and your habits and just don’t think you’ll be able to tear yourself away, there’s always another option. One thing that is really great about TikTok is that the algorithm is awesome at tailoring your For You page to your tastes. That means that every time you see a video about body types or trends that you don’t like, you can skip it. If you do that enough times, eventually you’ll stop seeing those types of videos entirely!

If you find yourself scrolling through TikTok and see something that makes you feel insecure about something you’ve never even thought about before, try to take a step back for a second.”

At the end of the day, if you find yourself scrolling through TikTok and see something that makes you feel insecure about something you’ve never even thought about before, try to take a step back for a second. Oftentimes, people (especially preteens and teenagers who tend to use TikTok the most) aren’t familiar with bodies that don’t look like their own and that’s what prompts these videos calling attention to these things. It’s important to remember that there are a wide range of body types and experiences that are completely normal and you’re almost definitely not the anomaly that TikTok may have you believe you are.

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