Weight loss tea. Hair growth supplements. Magical skin whitener. These are just a few products social media tycoons use to make a buck. From advertisements to sponsorships – these “influencers” are taking over the internet at the expense of their followers’ self security. Here is how they do it.
A Fake Forefront
One popular influencer is Kylie Jenner. With 184 million followers on Instagram, one could say she has a huge platform. Most of her posts are of her posing in front of a camera. In terms of her modeling photos, the influencer has received much criticism for her use of editing and Photoshop. This is a trend on social media, where users edit their images to produce a more “perfect” finish. People can make themselves look skinnier, darker, or taller all in the same app if they please. It has never been easier to change how you look.
Kylie Jenner is also known to have had cosmetic facial fillers, such as lip injections. Along with Photoshop, this adds to the fantasy that someone can naturally look “perfect”. This is how Kylie and many other influencers perpetuate negative body image goals for their followers.
Influencers make money off self-hatred through advertisements. Beauty companies pay those with a large social media presence, like Kylie, to advertise their products, and then wait for people to buy.
What is particularly deceiving about this business is that the products don’t always work. Many influencers have advertised a product called Sugar Bear Hair on Instagram. A doctor-reviewed article states that Sugar Bear Hair supplement vitamins “are not likely to help you”, contrary to many influencers saying they work wonders.
A large reason why influencers have such prominent platforms is because people are influenced by them (hence, the name, “influencer”). Followers want to be like their favorite celebrities and will do what they can to achieve that. However, this is all at the expense of people disliking the way they are and buying things to change themselves. Influencers capitalize on this lack of self-love and propose an impossible game for their followers to play. How can people obtain advertised “model bodies” by eating a weight loss gummy if the celebrity got their body from a plastic surgeon or through an application?
Why It’s Wrong
Influencer culture thrives off body hate. It encourages people to constantly search for things to “fix” about themselves. By getting you to hate they way you look and to buy a vitamin that supposedly helps you become “prettier”, this industry profits.
People can do whatever they want with their bodies. This is not meant to shame anyone for getting plastic surgery. However, what’s wrong with influencer culture is that people are misleading those who look up to them. If an influencer gets a tummy tuck and then advertises to their followers to buy weight loss supplements – they are lying. If they truly wanted their followers to look like them, influencers would advertise tummy tucks instead.
In the end, social media should be a place of connection and positive sharing. Positive body image has become skewed by the lies behind influencer posts. Now more than ever, we need honesty and truth if we are to move forward with self-love.