The Kardashian Effect: Social Media

I was chatting with a coworker the other day about our mutual hate for the Kardashians. I have never wavered on my hatred toward this family that America seems to be obsessed with. A family who made their fame and fortune on scandal (sex-tape, OJ, etc.) and lies (‘Real’ bodies). And we eventually made our way to how this family and the acceptance of their lies about women’s bodies is affecting women and teens today. And that leads me to this blog post.

When I was 13, Myspace was all the rage. And while I did my best with my cheap digital camera to post the most flattering photos (with a peace or duece up of course), there were limited options for editing – and those options rarely even covered my pimples much less gave me boobs and a butt while taking away my waist and looking natural. Now, kids and teens have Instagram accounts from the minute they inherit a smart phone… 8, 9, some younger, some older. And they follow their favorite Disney stars, and their older siblings’ favorite celebrities, and one by one they come across a Kardashian account. And, like the other 20 billion people, get scammed into following an account that documents through pictures and images the “real” life of these stars.

These youngsters see these photos and see the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of likes and realize the expectation that they must dress like and pose like and look like these humans for acceptance. Acceptance by family, acceptance by friends, acceptance by men, and acceptance by society.

Then these preteens and teens start dieting, exercising, doing things to their body (read Kylie Jenner lip challenge, waist trainers) to look like these women who supposedly have natural bodies.

Kylie Jenner admits to magazines it sometimes takes her 500 pictures to get the perfect photo for Instagram or Snapchat… 500. But that’s not in the heading of her Instagram page, its not on the caption of the photo and it’s sure not on the snap. Social media is supposed to give us a glimpse into real life… and that’s the expectation. That these photos are real life… not paparazzi photos or professional photos with editing.

We have to step in to ensure that teens and preteens grow up knowing they are beautiful and they are special despite the ratio between their waist and their butt. I am thrilled that today’s woman isn’t expected to be a size 00. But I’m pissed that society now expects an hour-glass figure with ratios of a literal Barbie doll.

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