False realities blossom through social media


By Michael Santone, News Editor

Nowadays it’s almost impossible to escape social media and the imprinted influences it has on the lifestyle standards projected through society.

The now, innate obsession of scrolling in captivation at a virtual community of vividly photoshopped images, “perfect bodies,” overly pampered faces and materialistic treasures are generating a false reality in society of people attempting to live up to this standard.

Whether it be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, the onslaught of new and glorified lifestyle trends that surface daily are perpetuating and manifesting issues with self-confidence and acceptance.

Like a cult, the modules of social media are promoted by idealized celebrities that serve as role models who set the standard for appearance-based acceptance.

This standard, which is then imitated by society, creates a lifestyle characterized by the most double taps, retweets, follows, shares, likes and comments. All this is done in the name of admiration with an emphasis on those who achieve the most.

However, this popularity through appearance and the necessity of materialistic properties is excluding those who can’t keep up with the ever changing dynamics of beauty standards that come along with social media.

From the ostentatious designer clothing and handbags that label bodies with price tags of exclusively tailored names, to what is underneath, the over-glamorized notion of body image and what is beautiful.

We have all been programmed to subconsciously scroll and compare life experiences through selfies of celebrities and people around the world.

This standard is exhilarating for those who can afford to live up to the expectations of Gucci and Louie or Fendi and Prada. Even the less fortunate among us crave the new Jordans, a made-up face, a sexy body or anything Kim Kardashian is wearing or doing. The backlash is the ostracized, or those working overtime to compete with this standard, struggle with insecurities and acceptance issues that have been magnified into everyday life.

People who fail to meet the standard face the ultimate backlash — ostracization.

The constant agitation of imitating social media standards, while trying to abide by societal norms or dress in brand name clothes, haunts those who seek this validation.

Standards expressed through trends and role models worth 100,000 likes are set too high for the average person. Society has been groomed by social media to judge and reject those who do not meet this virtual lifestyle criteria.

The impact that this lifestyle has on those who are struggling to achieve it is wide ranging. They are facing self-confidence issues because they lack material possessions or don’t fit the defined standard of appearance. A standard of beauty and body image is set too high, influencing a generation to value what’s on the outside, while those who don’t make the cut, slip into a search for acceptance.

But this acceptance is of the wrong kind, only based on what everyone else is doing and who everyone else is trying to be.

These lifestyle standards practiced throughout society, shared and accelerated by friends, family and people in online communities, are exclusive. This exclusive club of the privileged,  perpetuated by the standards that social media have brought into the palms of our hands, flings trends into the cyber universe.

They have been built into everyday lives, to be accepted based on appearance, without acknowledging those who are rejected.

Micheal is an associate editor of The Advocate. Contact him at [email protected].