Sunday, July 16, 2017

Living A Double Life: How Social Media Affects Teenage Girls

Huffington Post

   While perusing the Internet and all of its social media platforms, I have come across a barrage of teenage girls' profiles, the majority of them being edited with filters. Apps like Snapchat and Instagram allow users to enhance their photos with contrasting light and various features for their faces. The animal filters on Snapchat add a new dimension of "cuteness" for girls to explore, while the floral, fairylike graphics provide a seemingly flawless appearance. According to Business Insider, teenagers adore social media because they are able to "make [their] friends jealous" and create virtual "stories" of images/videos that amplify their vacation's importance. Girls attempt to emulate celebrities with millions of followers, such as the Kardashians, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez, by photographing themselves with everyday items that have a cult following, such as Starbucks. 


     Singer/songwriter Cailee Rae (pictured above) illustrates that an innocent activity like drinking coffee is worthy of documenting, along with a pair of sunglasses and flirty pose. This inspires girls to seek the same attention from their friends and feel like leaders when they mention the amount of followers they have, creating their own apparent fanbase. 
    However, in actuality, many girls who are obsessed with social media live a double life. The countless images and videos that characterize the life they want to market towards others only reflect certain moments of their day. An article on The Age website mentions how Camryn, a teenager famous for her Instagram selfies, "spends ages putting on make-up, doing a look, turning her head, pouting and twisting for the mirror and her phone camera." Another social media-famous teen named Vali appeared in an interview wearing a basic T-shirt, denim shorts and bitten nails, contrary to the flawless appearance she is known for. Therefore, social media may paint an unrealistic picture of its users if they commit to persuading others that their life is seemingly perfect. 

Celebrities engaging in Snapchat's popular filters


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Girls Just Wanna Have Sun - How Society and the Internet Builds Confidence This Summer

My Style Authority

   Pools, popsicles and sunglasses are keeping us cool this summer, not to mention the different trends in confidence-boosting swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes. Stores such as Forever21 and H&M have added plus-size models of different races and realistic sizes in their online swimwear sections. This encourages young women to feel positive about their bodies during the summer months, where clothes typically show more skin. Today's average American woman stands taller and weighs more than previous decades, typically at around a size 14. Compared to models of a thinner body type who wear sizes 0-2, women with curvier body types such as Ashley Graham, are considered plus-size. In 2016, Graham modeled for Lane Bryant's new line of lingerie for full-figured women, including bras of a larger, more comfortable size than similar brands.

   "People like Kim Kardashian have a shape that we haven't seen represented so much before. The reality is that the average American woman is a size 14, and the fact that we haven't been representing her or talking about her is a huge smack in the face," Graham stated in an interview with The Daily Beast. Advertisements depicting women who are "beach body ready" often show figures so thin that Photoshop is the only possible way to achieve them. This is shown below, in an infamous ad from Protein World, a British weight loss supplement.


   Similar images have been present for centuries in various forms, beginning in the 16th century. Corsets constructed with curved whale bones achieved a voluptuous, hourglass figure that was popular in France, the fashion capital of the era. In the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, Elizabeth Swann (played by Keira Knightley) faints from the corset that restricts her breathing, plummeting towards the water below. This silhouette is still desired, as it is thought to be a symbol of strength, confidence and beauty. However, fashion companies are becoming increasingly sensitive to their customers, who reflect healthier body types that are more common in society than the models portrayed.

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