“Instagram is ruining your smile,” says the dentist Dr Agata Bis. Unfortunately, social media’s been ruining more things than our smiles. Daily social media use has already been linked to higher loneliness, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and narcissism.
In an article published by the BBC, Jasmine Fardouly, a postdoctoral researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, says, “People are comparing their appearance to people in Instagram images, or whatever platform they're on, and they often judge themselves to be worse off.”
Moving away from Hollywood movies to social media, influencers are now the ones who are dictating beauty standards. Ten years ago, Rachel Green, with her perfect blond and straight hair, slim silhouette, and luxury brand outfits, was our reference. Now we have fillers, injections, ideal hair, manicured nails, even skin, and a fit body dressed with Gucci or Balmain wrapped with a perfect smile like a beauty model.
Who can resist a perfect, gorgeous, face-flattering white smile? Back in the time, we only had landline phones, cable TV, and magazines to reference the ideal smile.
We could only dream about perfect teeth. Now, it has become almost like a product shelf. You can just go and buy one to fix your teeth from the comfort of your home, like the boom of DIY teeth whitening and at-home teeth straightening treatment plans.
Now, we are constantly exposed to these beauty standards imposed by the billion-dollar beauty and cosmetic industry. Instagram and YouTube influencers have a closer relationship with their fans than the celebrities of the past, making it easier for them to normalize a myriad of cosmetic enhancements — and the latest trend is the veneers.
Dental veneers are a thin cover glued to the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance, and they last at least ten years on average. The big and perfect smile is just another basic norm that influencers — and their followers — got to adhere to feel accepted and beautiful.
From the influencer perspective, it expands their social media accounts, attracts more followers, and, consequently, increases their chances of being sponsored by a big brand and earning income.
On Instagram, anything beloved or suggested by a celebrity quickly becomes a hit due to the many regular followers they have who are thirsty to live the lifestyle of rich and famous. That means using a particular product or having the hair blown this way feels closer to their beloved influencers.
This changes the way brands use marketing to sell their products — the so-called influence marketing.
It’s crystal clear that our purchasing decision has been influenced by advertisement and the mainstream media decade over a decade. Regardless of the power is — literally — in our hands, it’s mind-blowing the influence social media has on people.
Because smartphones and social media are relatively new to us — around a decade since the first iPhone has been launched — we just have the slightest idea of its impacts on our mental health. But what about the long-term effects?
It seems that we can’t distinguish between a friend’s cat photo and one tap away is an influencer showing off her new teeth, so the reality frame is disturbed in our minds. It feels like everything we see when we scroll down our timeline is part of our brains’ real-life.
The easiness that the Internet provides us doesn’t mean that we should relax and get less diligent. It’s quite the opposite. Whenever you see a celebrity or an influencer posting their wonderful life, flawless body, and perfect smile, just ask yourself this question: is that all real?
After all, it doesn’t matter how much money they earn or how many followers they have; by the end of the day, we’re all humans, just like nature intended us to be.
“To me, beauty is natural beauty. If you’re naturally yourself, you’re beautiful”
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