May 10th, 2023, 09:00 AM

Your ForYou Page Isn't ForReal

By Aerin Flaharty
Photo from
How is social media promoting unhealthy lifestyles and unrealistic standards for young girls and women?

When it comes to meeting beauty standards, women have always had a long list of boxes to check. They have always been told how they can alter their bodies—whether it be having a certain body type, perfectly shaped lips, how their hair should look or how much makeup they should be wearing—to achieve the beauty standard. Nowadays, with the growth of technology and the accessibility of social media, it’s become harder to avoid falling into these impossible standards. 

Social media has shifted how marketing hits us in a completely different way than it used to 50 years ago. Instead of buying a copy of Vogue magazine at a newspaper stand or relying on billboards to show us new fashion trends, we are being influenced by tiny, talking pieces of metal. And while social media is a great creative outlet and social space for us to use, it comes with the consequence of getting sucked into the unrealistic standards it promotes. 

Young girls scrolling through various models on their recommendation pages will undoubtedly be influenced to want to look like these celebrities. But this beauty standard promoted to them isn’t natural. In fact, celebrities and influencers have often succumbed to achieving it by filling in their lips and going through plastic surgery procedures. Young girls and women need to know that these features aren’t always natural. 

Now that there is such a thing as influencers, and within that, micro genres of beauty influencers, fashion influencers, body influencers and more, it becomes harder and harder for girls and women to determine what is real and what isn’t. Photo editing apps such as Facetune and Photoshop Express have been used on Instagram by influencers and celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Rita Ora and Bella Hadid. These women have used these apps to correct their flaws by obtaining an airbrushed look, smoothing over their arms or pinching in their waists. 

TikTok, a popular app for sharing short videos—and the number one most downloaded app in 2022—will automatically suggest videos similar to what each specific user interacts with. For example, if a user is paying more attention to workout, health and diet videos on their ForYou page, the app will adjust their incoming videos to mainly correspond with the genres of health and fitness. And even though this algorithm provides videos to a user’s specific interest, the problem raised with this practice is if the content that TikTok promotes is unrealistic or misleading. Due to the fact that anyone with a TikTok account can post videos, the diet videos that are distributed to the public eye are not always educational or accurate. In some cases, viewers interested in health and wellness can also be pushed towards videos such as “What I eat in a day to lose weight,” and while you might think that the creators recommended to you are qualified to lend diet advice, they are not always correct. There are videos that promote that going on a juice cleanse or eating just a bowl of vegetables a day and a couple of pieces of fruit will allow them to lose a certain amount of weight if they do the same. It is extremely dangerous for these videos to be so publicly available to view as younger audiences are more likely to believe this information and add it into their lifestyles without knowing the consequences that can develop. 


@xoxo.8886 the salad was delicious definitely gonna make it again <3 #whatieat #foryou #fypシ #modeling ♬ original sound - sara 💋💋


Popular genres within TikTok’s young female following are makeup tutorials, “A day in my life” type of videos, clothing and makeup hauls, fashion and skincare routines. These videos are entertaining to watch, but more often than not there is no diversity in the female creators. This pushes the idea that the only type of beauty is the thin, long hair, perfect eyelashes, model that is recommended to them on their TikTok ForYou pages. It is one thing for someone to naturally look thin, or to have to have clear skin, however, seeing the same beauty standard being promoted over and over again is not healthy and does not distinguish a practical image of what all women look like. Curves, acne and scars are just as common, but profusely less advocated for on these apps. This is when social media becomes dangerous for young women and girls who cannot distinguish the difference between realistic ideas of beauty. Neither the tangible nor digital world will tell you this, but living up to the beauty standards presented to women is impossible.

What the young woman needs to be told on their Instagram recommendations and TikTok ForYou pages is the fact that not all types of beauty are advocated for in this day and age, nor have they ever been. And while there are creators and models such as Remi Bader, Winnie Harlow and Matilda Djerf who advocate for diverse beauty, there is still a long way to go in following their lead. Young girls and women should not be growing up in a world dominated by a singular beauty standard. The time is now to show women of all ages that there is not one type of beauty.