Social Media and Beauty

Nowadays there is an increasing social significance of corporeity, which causes the growth of interest in the standards of human physical attractiveness. The body is gradually becoming a sign of status, since it reflects the financial possibilities of a person. There are some attributes of beauty, which make the final assessment appeal. Hence, the research topic of this paper is the connection and interaction of the social media in the production of the standards of beauty in the contemporary society.

The relevance of the research is determined by the fact that the beauty is one of the essential aspects which are being constantly promoted in the media resources all over the world. In this regard, it is significant to state that social media dictate the beauty standards to the humankind and advertise the way people should live, behave, and look. Hence, the research question is to what extent the social media dictate the standards of beauty in the contemporary society.  Therefore, this paper will focus on the connection between the social media means and tools and the way beauty is formed and perceived. To prove that social media are currently the only source of propaganda of special standards of beauty, it is significant to concern the problem from various points of view. Hence, one of the compounds of the beauty is fashion. Both beauty and fashion are advertised in the social media by the dictators in this field due to the economic and financial income to be obtained.

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The research is conducted on the basis of the literature analysis. The sources for the research have been chosen in accordance with their validity, relevance to the topic, and innovation of ideas represented. Thus, ten essential investigations have been analyzed and rethought to respond the research question of this paper. The analysis approach is suitable due to the fact that it helps evaluate and deeply understand the essence of the issue in question and draw the necessary conclusion.

According to the literature found, it is possible to hypothesize that the social media are the dictators of the beauty standards and apply various tools of promotion and advertising to advance the beauty criteria in order to help the fashion industry continue accumulate the financial assets and benefits. In fact, the anticipated findings support this statement and illustrate it with numerous examples.

Social Media and the Tools of their Impact on the Beauty Perception: Literature Review

According to the investigation by Perloff, it is sharply indicative for the younger generation that is most susceptible to social media influence. The researcher tried to find out what kind of image is now prevalent in the collective social consciousness. Modern glossy magazines, TV, social media, posters and booklets replicate the image. The essential idea behind the research is that it is possible to build a certain image that exists in the minds of modern young people. According to the investigation by Perloff, using the data of sociological surveys, the researches have found that “this is a high or medium height (72 replies) girl, with body balance (50 responses), with long hair (78 replies), with dark hair (50 responses), well-groomed (77 responses), with big eyes (39 replies), with the “model” or a sports figure (30 replies)”. In this case, the influence of advertising factors on the human mind is decisive. Therefore, the investigation by Perloff is very important for the current research due to the fact that it represents a firm proof in favor of the fact that the social media in their interaction dictate the standards of beauty because they cooperate with the major beauty and fashion industry stakeholders and companies. The limitation of the research consists in the low number of social media mentioned and discussed; however, this is not a key point to be focused much on.

On this basis, similarly to Perloff, Prieler and Choi conducted an investigation. The authors’ arguments are based on the fact that it can be seen that the parameters of feminine beauty that are defined by commercials and music videos, as well as socio-cultural standards adopted in the media, are the priority for the choice of a beautiful woman. In some cases, the respondents often do not realize themselves how these proportions look like. Thus, it is possible to state that the “youth represents the stereotypes that exist in society and in advertising”. While producing an impact on the mind and emotions of the person using influence methods, social media thereby create a simulated world of imagery of everyday life, which is beneficial to the customer, indicating the manipulation of the consciousness of the individual. This manipulation often takes place in the perception of beauty and concepts which are related to it. In fact, the manipulative influence is directed at all facets of personal consciousness: thinking, feeling, imagination, attention, memory, and perception. Promoting a certain sample of the beauty, the social media are based on the emotion, which is the primary object of manipulation because they are more flexible and pliable than the other functions of consciousness. Hence, this investigation by Prieler and Choi can be concerned as a necessary element for the present investigation due to the fact that the authors provide a reader with a profound insight into the nature of the contemporary understanding of beauty and depict the aspects of roles the social media play in creating this image. The limitation of the study by Prieler and Choi consists in the fact that the authors did not go deep into the essence of stereotypes of beauty since such an approach could have made a great contribution to the development of understanding the beauty samples which are currently fashionable.

Moreover, women themselves played a significant role in this transformation of the image of female beauty. In this regard, Chan and Yazdanifard created a brand new research. They have a strong conviction that they have embraced the new standards and parameters and a new interpretation of the image, and thus agreed with new conceptual content. In today’s visual culture female image is precisely the main, and acts as a carrier of cultural semantics, performing a variety of economic, social, political, and other functions. Visually marked female images do not only reflect, but also form the social reality. However, they are unattainable. The specialists mention the emaciation of Kate Moss, who was a fashion icon of the 1990s. Women perceive these standards as requirements for success in modern society. Such an opinion is essential and very significant for the present investigation. This is due to the fact that the investigators depict various compounds and aspects of the term ‘beauty’ and its understanding in the timeframe of the 21st century. Also, the authors link these compounds with the social media since the latter are the basis for the standards’ creation. The limitation of the research consists in the depiction of beauty being cut off the understanding of fashion. In other words, the authors pay much attention to the forms of physical beauty and cosmetics almost without applying the concept of fashion as a term which is tightly connected with beauty.

Consumption is becoming less material practice, but more symbolic, since the person begins to consume the signs and symbols and the connection with such things as the objects of consumption is lost. In this regard, the essential claim of Brooks consists in the statement that the mass production of the items are the source, which helps the public to distinguish themselves symbolically in relation to the others. The author believes that passion to have symbolic meaning items of consumption in is simultaneously a cause and a consequence of social inequality. Focusing on the symbolic values ​​leads to the fact that the rate of consumption is constantly increasing, because it is subordinated to the logic of fashion. Brooks believes that the intrinsic value of things and their functionality becomes less important. Thus, the contemporary production does not meet existing needs of consumers. The main task is to create the new ones. The society wants to be in need of something new, because the old one is bored. Thus, the value of the research by Brooks is that the author goes further in the investigation of the beauty aspect: the researcher depicts the economic aspect of beauty and responds to the question of why the social media are so engaged in creating the people’s understanding of beauty. The limitation of the study is framed by the lack of economic data on how much money the social media accumulate by promoting the beauty standards.

Working on different levels of identity, the world of beauty shapes the perception of others and reflects the ongoing changes in the identity of a society itself. Fashion, according to Holt, is a factor of everyday life construction. In this way, it stimulates multiplicity of identities and forms of individualization in modern society. The essential point of the article by Holt is that the author explains that the main cause of change is in the revolution in the media, which led to the interpenetration of cultures, the exchange of cultural values, and the ability to spread information instantly from one part of the world to another. As a result, the individual is affected by constantly extraneous socio-cultural influences that have an impact on the formation of the selfhood. The author successfully claims that currently the power of mass media’s influence on society can hardly be overestimated. The structure of the media is known to provide a powerful tool which is believed to influence the attitudes and value orientations. Besides, it allows and enables the regulation of social behavior. It is through this structure and by means of this toolkit social media develop the fashion institution. The article by Holt is especially significant for the present research due to the fact that it regards fashion as an inseparable part of beauty which is formed by means of social media. The fashion institution, in turn, evolves extensively, revealing its influence and embedding its institutional components in almost all spheres of public life. The limitation of the study by Holt is that the researcher limits the investigation only by the fashion and beauty industry of the US, while the social media presuppose a more global approach and vision of the problem.

Fashion is an inseparable part of beauty industry in social media. Andsager have a strong conviction that the social media are inevitably connected with understanding of beauty and new beauty images. The author mentions such an important aspect as that a special role in this case is played by the industry of fashion. In this case, social media is more than the best tool to create the necessary advertisement of a certain style, trend, or device to help people stay fashionable and beautiful all the time. It is interesting to analyze how and in what forms the social Fashion Institute translates itself through the media and which functions it performs in the modern society. The majority of the mass / social media is represented by the television channels. In modern television of any country, there are a huge number of TV shows that for some characteristics in varying degrees of involvement constitute the Fashion Institution or are a part of it. In spite of the seeming diversity of such television programs can be made to classify them according to a number of grounds. Through the prism of social media, it is accompanied by the imposition of the surface of the spiritual, personal and family problems. Hence, the research in question is paramount for the current investigation since it delivers the idea that one of the main engines of fashion development through the social media is the human particularity of imitation. The limitation of the investigation consists in a narrow number of TV channels and programs regarded – they cannot reflect the global actions of social media.

An important aspect of mechanism how social media impact the human perception of beauty is found in the study by Ceulemans and Fauconnier. Psychologists state that imitation for animals, for instance, is the biological self-defense form, the natural reflex of the gregarious feelings. Certainly, this definition is very much suitable for fashion with the difference that the original is the ‘herd’ and is formed virtually. It is basically called as the ‘reference group.’ The social media of this type best reflect the broad penetration of social fashion institute in most areas of public life by means of the social media tools. This is here wherein it is possible to trace back the formation of the concepts of ‘fashionable’ and ‘not fashionable’ with respect to virtually all, both real and not real aspects of life. Hence, due to the unpredictable and non-standard approach to the issue, this research is also significant for the present investigation. The only limitation it possesses consists in the fact that the authors framed their study by the age limits: they surveyed the women aged under their 25.

The social media and other media channels go much further: they set the current fashion standards of relations. They create the relations towards everybody and everything: to the parents, to friends, to pregnancy, to politics, to religion, etc. in short, to anything, including fashion and image. These standards of relations – not fancy or trendy – eventually lay down smiling the basis of value orientations of the individual. In these regard, Coles fairly claims that the social media of this type are addressed to younger employees as the most sensitive part of society to help promote the particular style or a certain brand. However, the program broadcasting the social behavior patterns through reference groups exist for each age threshold, depending on the interests of its members. In any case, this type is based on the idea of ​​program imitation of the subjects having a desired social status. The value of the article consists in the fact that all of these methods affect the impact of various systems of value orientations of the individual by building new or changing gradually the old orientation. The same types of effects are used by other media to promote the necessary fashionable trends of a particular season. The limitation of the investigation comprises the particular gender group, women; while it would be beneficial to scope the men’s perception of male look and beauty.

In their investigation, Ferguson, Muñoz, Garza, and Galindo found out that a relatively new means of communication media is still not widely available in many developing countries, but are actively exploited in the framework of social institution of fashion in the West, is a mobile content channels. However, an important difference from the prior channel that is that the degree of this effect is magnified, since forming the subject of a message is able to catch it in time, close to the decision, such as buying. However, in today’s society with blurred temporal, national, age and gender aspects, and other boundaries, no rigid fashion ideology can fully take roots. Because of this, it takes a free niche of fashion. This is one of the factors that gives the right to speak about fashion as a social institution which has been impacted by the social media. One of the definitions of basic social institution defines it as ties and social norms organized system that integrates meaningful community values ​​and procedures that meet the basic needs of society. Any functional institution arises and running by performing one or another social need. What kind of social need executes Fashion Institute today? The value of the investigation by Ferguson, Muñoz, Garza, and Galindo consists in its profoundness. The authors successfully conducted the analysis which allows to determine the need for the following: creating patterns, behaviors, social media and fashion institution perform the function of ideological fashion, filling the needs of society in ideology. The limitation of the study is that the psychological mechanisms of the beauty perception have not been highlighted to the fullest extent.

The process of formation of the original fashion culture is based on the fashion images which are popular due to the social networks and social media in general. Thus, Dakanalis et al. base their argument on the fact that the social networking has become a specific genre of communication, which for a short time formed its own system of rules of behavior and culture. These samples of behavior determine the fashion choice. In these conditions, all permanent members of the communication are involved in varying degrees to the promotion of a particular style. In the psychological field, the social networking is an important advantage, because it does not impose on its members of supplementary obligations which arise in the case of real communication and accumulate the common notion of ‘responsibility.’ Hence, the promotion of a particular fashionable trend becomes ‘a game.’ This confirms the fact that any question of reducing the opportunities for anonymous actions on the Internet is very painful for the society. Besides, the value of the investigation by Dakanalis et al. is that it discovers that the popularity of social networks and the associated ‘habituation effect’ is caused by the fact that in this environment, people get much more of the manifestations of approval from the society than in real life. The limitation of the study is that the authors are focused on only one type of social networking, which is Facebook.


One of the impacts of social media on fashion and image is the process of erasing the traditional limitations. Social networks help to overcome the status differences between representatives of different sectors of society. In any case, beauty is a determining factor of success. Thus, it is possible to claim that social media are the only source which determines the standards of beauty and manipulate the consciousness of the people, who are the users of the social networks and social media. This is mainly done in order to gain economic benefits selling the products of fashion and beauty. In the course of investigation it was found that such an approach of the social media seems to be a versatile conglomerate of propagandistic ideas, standards, and samples which are aimed to turn people into robots and create the mass consciousness which would generate the standards of beauty for the further generations in order to support this machine of earning money. Thus, finally, the fashion and beauty industry is advertised by the social media to bring the necessary and expected income to the owners of large fashion corporations. Social media in this case are the best tool to advance, advertise, and promote the standards of beauty which are expected to be followed by people. In most cases, this phenomenon takes place unconsciously.

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