Yes, celebrity social media is detrimental, but are they really the ones to blame?


Lauren Miranda

It’s time to delete toxic beauty standards and celebrate authenticity in every post.

I remember first downloading Instagram at the impressionable age of 11. I decided the best way to grow my feed was to follow all of my favorite celebrities: Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry. As I began scrolling down my newly curated home page, a heartbreaking realization dawned on me- I looked nothing like these women.

Most of that was due to my age; why would an 11-year-old Lauren have the same body as a then 21-year-old Gigi Hadid? But some of that insecurity had to do with the deceptive versions celebrities were portraying of themselves online. The pictures I constantly saw were edited, sometimes severely: blurred, glowing skin, enhanced cheekbones and slimmed waists.

I used to think these edits were reality, constantly shaming myself for not having glass-like skin and an hourglass shape. I didn’t realize many of these photos were edited until much later in life after the detrimental habit of self-criticism was set deep into my psyche.

I’ll admit when I learned of these enhancements I immediately began to shame the celebrity. Why are you editing your body and posting it as authentic for many impressionable young girls, like myself, to idolize and strive for when those physical features are impossible to obtain? What makes you think it is okay to promote unhealthy diet products like ‘Flat Tummy’ shakes and appetite-suppressing lollipops as the reason for your “perfect” body when your body doesn’t even look like that in real life?

However, as I got older and more exposed to the way our society functions on the internet, I began to see why celebrities might feel they have to go through such extreme measures to alter their appearance.

First of all, no one has a greater ability to form an opinion of you than someone you have never met. The same goes for celebrities, especially when their images are being viewed by millions of strangers all around the world. Seeing all the trolling and fat-shaming taking place in their comment section makes me feel sorry for them, as society’s judgmental and fixed mindsets are a driving factor in the pressure to look “perfect”.

That leads me to my main point, a question that has been toying with me for a while now: Are celebrities really the ones to blame for unrealistic beauty standards?

This question reminds me of an internet scandal from six months ago; Khloe Kardashian demanded that a picture her grandmother posted of her be deleted off the internet completely. The picture showed Kardashian in a private pool, sporting a leopard print bikini and smiling.

The lengths Kardashian’s team went through to remove this picture would make you think the photo was horrible or inexcusable. But no, it was none of those things. Kardashian hated the picture because she looked normal.

She looked gorgeous, but her skin was less shimmery and smooth. The lightning was not perfect. This was simply an unairbrushed, unretouched photo that had not been passed through a multitude of filters.

In her reasoning for the removal, she stated she has every right to prevent and control what pictures of her are being shared. She also said that she struggled with her body image and she was under tremendous pressure to be perfect.

Now, I understand Kardashian’s concerns. For years she was labeled as the “ugly sister,” so she took that negativity and used it as inspiration to transform her body. Her fear of posting a picture that did not necessarily meet society’s unrealistic beauty standards might elicit hurtful comments similar to ones she received in the past is extremely valid.

However, what she likes to portray as her “real” body is not actually real. She has admitted to having injectables like filler and Botox and her photos are edited so heavily that she seems to have a new face in every recent Instagram post.

We as a society are becoming more aware that certain beauty standards are unattainable, but what we need to realize is these standards aren’t even real.

So, I guess I answered my own question. Celebrities create the same beauty standards they later bash, causing their fake photos and illusory posts to be a driving force in today’s unrealistic beauty standards.

Enough is enough. It’s time to delete toxic beauty standards and celebrate authenticity in every post. Now that’s beautiful.