No longer satisfied with just exuding natural beauty, teenagers, both male and female are now coming to see beauty enhancements as important. Girls can now take lipstick lessons on YouTube, so they can achieve the Kylie Jenner lip effect. The assumption they get when they see professional shots of celebrities on Instagram and Snapchat is that glamour photography is about celebrating beauty in the most flirtatious manner possible. They may not have million of followers, but teenage girls of today ensure that they keep their thousands of followers engaged with pictures of them in tank tops, singlets popping cleavage, and bum shorts. Matched with the right caption, the likes and loving comments start pouring in. The platforms may be different, but social media gives teenagers an opportunity to live the lives of those celebrities they look up to, even if its just for a few minutes.
But not everything is rosy when it comes to teenagers and glamour photographer. In a survey conducted by the Young Men Christians Association (YMCA) in Britain, 60% of teenagers admitted that they felt the pressure to look perfect on social media. 58% of teenagers aged 11 – 16 believed that their body image expectations were the result of celebrities. Older teenagers aged 15 – 16 precisely put the blame on the people they saw on social media.
This survey also has scientific backing from the work done by UCLA researchers who observed the brains of teenagers while they were using social media. In the course of this, they discovered something interesting. Guess what? They found that the parts of the brain that were activated by eating chocolate and winning money, were also activated when teenagers saw a large number of likes on their pictures or those of their peers. Clearly, the satisfaction that social media brings to teenagers can be compared to the pleasure of eating junk food or getting a lot of money.
If likes on social media and a few moments of fame can get teenagers this excited, it shows that there’s the possibility of them getting influenced negatively and partaking in risky behaviour that models what they see on the internet. This is what happened when pictures surfaced on the internet of several girls with bruised lips from trying to achieve the Kylie Lip, a trend started by Kylie Jenner
To counter this, campaigns like #IPledgeToBeReal have been launched, with participants pledging not to filter their pictures, and hold brands that use glamour photography as a means of marketing and promotion accountable, if they lack diversity. Glamour photography places a great emphasis on highlighting what is good and appealing about our bodies, and cloaking the flaws. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with this. Its human to want to always look good. But this should not be at the expense of natural selves when we are away from the Gram or Snap. 5 minutes of filtered perfection should not come in the way of enjoying the natural beauty that stays with you all day long, with or without the endorsement of social media.