The Pressures of Social Media

Social media has become an influential presence in everyone’s lives, especially among teens. Students at BHS use social media to share noteworthy moments of their high school years, usually on Instagram, Facebook, or other social platforms. Since social media has risen in popularity in the last few years, there has been both good and bad feelings surrounding it. Because posts on social media often portray only the best and most exciting times of someone’s life, they do not always reflect reality. Whether the subject is beauty, wealth, or overall happiness, people are pretending to be something they are not, all because of the pressure to uphold their ideal image of perfection. This pressure has negatively impacted students at BHS in the past and present.

“I feel like there is extra pressure on girls when it comes to social media,” senior Mariana Cardenas said. When it comes to women’s beauty, people look up to celebrities that they see on billboards, in commercials and magazines. Social media has allowed celebrities and models to share their seemingly perfect appearances and lives at an increasing rate.

“Mainstream social media often depicts skinny women with full makeup, expensive clothes, and huge smiles on their faces,” Cardenas said. This idea of perfection makes teenage girls feel obligated to follow in their shadows, hoping to blend in with what is “cool” at the time. Along the way, teenagers in our generation end up losing some of their own unique identities in a search to duplicate others.

Senior Kyra Novitzky agrees, saying that “social media has become a competition, where people just try to flex their muscles.”

“Social media is both a blessing and a curse because I get to share my life with my friends, but I constantly feel compared to them,” Novitsky adds. Although these comparisons are easy to make, it is important to separate reality from fantasy. It is vital to note that the saddest person can look happy online.

The problem with social media, for both women and men, is that unrealistic expectations encourage people to change themselves due to fear of judgment. Most people on social media simply do not want to feel vulnerable; however, the sooner that they accept their imperfections, the sooner they can rid themselves of this fear of judgment.

To solve this problem, we must start using social media with a new perspective. Instead of struggling to look flawless and happy all the time, we should not be afraid to be authentic. Being content with your reality and posting authentic images will lift the pressures that come with social media, and also identify the people who accept you for who you are.

Posted on May 1, 2017 .