by Richa Chaturvedi ’21
Published Oct. 20th, 2020
When COVID-19 struck, the whole world seemed to pause. Forced to go into lockdown mode, nobody was allowed to leave their homes unless it was completely necessary. This meant everyone had more time to themselves, leading to even more self-scrutiny than usual.
Because we have relied so heavily on technology and social media for getting work done or for pastime during quarantine, most people’s internet engagement has soared. This has led to a loss of sense of reality. With everybody at home relying heavily on the technology for productivity and entertainment, the time spent on social media platforms has skyrocketed, paving the way for influencers to control us.
The phrase “a picture can say a thousand words” has become more prominent in quarantine. One of the most distinct examples of that is body image. Especially for young girls, some have been feeling the urgency to achieve the “glow up” or “body goals”. Many celebrities and influencers post photos that are nearly flawless, using filters, angles, and special lighting. Popular social media apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have now become secret weapons used by influencers to manipulate the younger generation, making them believe that one needs to look a certain way to succeed.
In extreme cases, there have been incidents where people have taken health advice from superficial content creators, leading to abnormal ways of living. For example, with the popularity of TikTok, many people post what they eat in a day in order to get “shredded” or to lose fat or weight, without any information about their height, genetics, and other health factors. Therefore, many individuals are being influenced, thinking that they need to do this in order to look a certain way, which is actually negatively affecting their health.
Many facets of popular media have made it seem as though there is a “perfect” body image. COVID-19 has directly led to exponential increases in online engagement from Americans, making large celebrity platforms even larger. As a result, more people — especially adolescents — have been negatively affected by the unrealistic body image that these celebrities project. Let this end here and now. Celebrities do not have, and should never have, the privilege of controlling what normal bodies look like. As a society, we must remind ourselves that “perfect” bodies do not exist, and that we need to regain autonomy of our own body image.