When setting up your Bitmoji, avatar or profile photo, how far do you go in assuring the character looks like you? How do you choose an image of yourself? Do you alter features to look differently? Let’s think about the representations of our personal image, whether you care about it or not. This allows us to question how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen publicly.
With the growth of social media and the mass influx of photos being shared, the focus on the body has increased. Many believe this focus on the body to encourage a self-conscious mindset, thus influencing a need to change our bodies.
Plastic surgery and beauty and healthcare products play into these social wants and needs, creating a convoluted industry — an industry involving plastic surgeons, beauty brands, influencers and consumers. Often, there is a general dislike for plastic surgery and beauty altering, a sentiment that extends even to makeup use.
I’m not solely speaking on products or procedures that stereotypically target women but to everyone who looks in the mirror in the morning. Most people have an image for themselves they portray to others. Being comfortable in your own skin is what matters. If changing your appearance brings you comfort, do it.
The industry of healthcare and beauty has existed for a long time, but its touch on society has not always been as impactful as it is now. The access to different social medias and online shopping has made this industry aggressively available. We think of celebrities and brand endorsements when we consider influencers in this market, but fitness junkies and makeup gurus have entered the field as well.
The realm of healthcare and body altering does appear dangerous. It does affect how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. It forces many to appear “perfect” in their online world. But it also evokes another emerging moment that may seem cliché and fluffy but one we are all experiencing nonetheless: self-acceptance and expression. The person who cares the most about your appearance is you. That being said, it’s up to you to feel comfortable and happy in your skin.
How we manage and evaluate the various media in our life is important. Allow yourself to be inspired or influenced by your favorite people on the internet, but don’t negatively compare yourself to them. This negative comparison is virtually a waste of time.
If you have goals for yourself, then work for them. If making a change feels right, then do what you think is best. If you’re happy in your body, fantastic. The ultimate goal is feeling confident and comfortable and not letting social media drain us. Understanding and acknowledging what you can control is valuable to the sanity of our everyday lives. Do what you want.
Madison Warman is a senior from Kansas City, Missouri, studying English and Spanish.