Style Beauty

Saturday 20 July 2019

How social media is ruining our body confidence

According to a new survey by Dove, carried out as part of its Changing Face of Beauty: 2004 to 2014 project, social media is having a powerful effect on our beauty confidence, and it's not all good.

Embargoed to 0001 Friday November 27 Undated file handout photo from 'Dove' of model from their advertising campaign that used
Embargoed to 0001 Friday November 27 Undated file handout photo from 'Dove' of model from their advertising campaign that used "real" women for its promotions and not airbrushed models. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 26, 2009. Women are suffering poor self-esteem because of advertising campaigns which use airbrushing techniques to portray "unattainable perfection", a survey claimed today. Images of models which have been digitally altered are causing more than two thirds of women to suffer low confidence about their bodies, the study by beauty brand Dove has found. See PA story CONSUMER Airbrush. Photo credit should read: Dove/PA Wire

Katy Young,

While 57 per cent of us say a Facebook 'like' does our sense of self-confidence wonders, the background story is that half of us also feel the constant pressure to present ourselves in our best light online - as well as off it.

While friends, family, partners, and colleagues might compel us to look good, 21 per cent of us believe that the bulk of that pressure now comes from social media; evidence of which comes from the fact that the average selfie takes a whopping 20 minutes to get right, while 42 per cent of us admit to de-tagging a less than flattering photo of ourselves.

In fact almost half of us feel that social media has changed the way we feel about beauty, 55 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds going as far to say that the digital age had not enhanced their beliefs in their appaerance, but rather made them far more self-conscious about the way they looked. Dove's survey of 1,000 women in the UK also highlighted the fact that unlike 10 years ago when happiness was deemed the most important attribute to how beautiful we feel, today it is self confidence that makes us feel pretty. And if social media is effecting our confidence - well then the modern maths is depressingly easy to see. (No wonder 69 per cent of us wouldn't describe ourselves as beautiful, and one in five of us has considered plastic surgery).

And it's not a trend women are likely to buck. As Dove puts it, "we are the stars of our own media," more visible than ever 65 per cent of us own a smartphone and 31 million of us are Facebook users, "where once we consumed media, now we are the media," compared to 2004, we are now public by default, not private. The future prediction too is that social media will become far more influential over beauty, ahead of other women, fashion and style, celebrities, entertainment and models.

But what Dove is hoping for, as it champions greater diversity and encourages women to recognise their own individual beauty, is a reclamation of reality; for starters it wants to end de-tagging "as an expression of confidence - with #nofilter becoming a statement of body confidence." It's now that we need to start "loosening up the collective pressure of life on display," says Dove.


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