The Grass is Greener with Envy

Maggie Barnes, Fashion Editor

Blake Lively, Beyonce, Scarlett Johansson. These are just some of the few celebrities that every girl yearns to look like. They’ll want Scarlett’s adorably flirty smile, Blake’s gorgeous blond locks, and Beyonce’s bodacious booty.

In this day and age the epidemic of digital-beauty has reached men and women of all ages. It is natural for anybody to see something they like and strive to obtain it. However, social media has mass produced what is considered to be the unobtainable body. With the lighting set at 75%, contrast at 40%, the filter set to Valencia, and with a quick touch-up of photoshop. All to curve down the thighs, to create a thigh-gap, a picture is finally ready to be posted online. This is only where the problem starts; these ridiculously edited pictures cause all of the user’s followers to gawk the artificial beauty of the picture. While the user herself is counting each and every like as if her self-worth demands a certain number of likes to be perceived as beautiful.

Social media has created a system that is designed for everyone to conform to what someone else deems to be beautiful. While natural beauty is overlooked and artificial beauty is being printed and set to be on the cover of every magazine, ranging from Vogue to GQ.

Due to the fact pictures posted on social media create unnatural bodies, people strive to obtain the results in the same manner. These unnatural methods, such as crash diets, 30 day juice-cleanse, and, in extreme cases, starvation and bulimia, cause both women and men to alter their bodies in a sad attempt to conform to what they believe social media will “like”.

This craze has manifested itself into becoming a physiological epidemic that is being created at an extremely young age for people due to their access not only on social media, but as well as television, billboards, and magazines. In an article written by Kasey Serdar, in the health journal Westminster, Serdar states, “body dissatisfaction in women is a well-documented phenomenon in mental health literature. Researchers have called females’ concerns with their physical appearance “normative discontent” implying that body dissatisfaction affects almost all women at some level” (Kasey L. Serdar).Not only does this article state that women feel dissatisfaction towards a part of their body, it also implies that this is a normal feeling.

In reality no woman should feel ashamed towards any part of their body, the people that should be ashamed is the people who believe that is acceptable to critique women’s features and allow the dissatisfaction of a body imagine to be considered normal. The idea of perfection is displayed in almost every part of day-day activity with bikini ads, fashion critics, and celebrities posting images about how perfect they are, but not documenting the countless hours they sat in hair and makeup to prepare for the commerical, or the personal trainers and chefs they have on staff catering to their lifestyle. Even after all of the thousands of dollars worth of products used to make these naturally gorgeous celebrities look beautiful they still are all glossed over and edited to make certain that no everyday person can obtain that it-girl look. The everyday person kills herself at the gym, doing cardio, drinking ridiculous smoothies, and counting every calorie she eats only to scratch the surface in becoming the unrealistic image she yearns for.

Social media not only produces unrealistic images, it also creates an unrealistic connection to celebrities. People now follow celebrities on Twitter and Instagram and begin to alter their perception of them back to being normal everyday people.

This only makes things harder when these celebrities land a role and have an incredible three month body transformation. Journalist Jamie Santa Cruz states, “Movies and magazines increasingly display bare-chested men with impossibly chiseled physiques and six- pack abs… also whereas girls typically want to be thinner, boys are as likely to feel pressure to gain weight” (Body-Image Pressure Increasingly Affects Boy, Jamie Santa Cruz). Men are under the same amount of pressure to change their bodies to be considered attractive and hot. They’re spending hundreds of dollars on muscle supplements, tanning supplies, and gym memberships just so they can continue on the endless cycle towards obtaining the perfect body. When they see articles about actors like Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds gaining 35 pounds of muscle within months they begin to feel discouraged and are forced to take extreme measures to look like them.

Celebrities are not the only ones who influence what is considered the perfect body on social media. Due to the fact that millions of people are now on social media it has become even easier to find perfect strangers and envy their bodies. Girls will want to be as tan as a Brazilian or as blond as a girl from New Zealand or as skinny as a girl from Japan. What is worse about this comparison to a stranger rather than to a celebrity is the fact that they don’t have any extra help–they simply have better genes.

Rather than complementing these girls on their natural beauty people tear them down and body-shame them for being who they are. When they are not body-shaming them they are still trying to do everything in their power to alter their own bodies in hopes to look like them. An article by the fashion magazine Elite Daily reads, “What might make you green with envy through the lens of X-Pro II might, at best, be mediocre through the lens of real life” (Adriana Marilla).

This leads to the point that photos posted on instagram are taken when people look their best. There rarely taken to document the realness of life, such as, the rats nest called morning bed head, the way masara looks as you wipe it off your face at night, or the sweaty red face you have when you finish a run. Instead it is when the lighting is perfect, the background is interesting, the clothes are perfectly coordinated.

What’s ironic about the whole idea of the perfect, unobtainable body on social media is that fact that social media is a mass media outlet. We the people are the mass, it is in our power to say what we think is beautiful, and if we simply stopped trying to conform and look like everyone else, we would start to appreciate our own natural beauty and finally be comfortable with every little imperfection we are lucky enough to have. It will always be natural for us to like something we don’t have. But maybe there is some truth to old saying: the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.