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Girls Reflection 2 Paper: Media

“Social media has revolutionized how beauty is curated, captured, and consumed.” – Pat McGrath (Vivienne, 56 2017) In today’s society, social media is one of the strongest influencers on women’s self-esteem, feminine culture, and the way the world views us. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr show how far women will go to achieve the “perfect” beauty standard and the negative impacts of “Selfie Culture” on self-image. “Selfie Culture” has developed immensely over recent years and has shaped the beauty consumer market and demographic (Busetta, 44, 2015). It guides women to buy what they believe will make them “perfect.” Social media enhances photos through photoshop and chooses unrealistic representations to sell beauty products, such as celebrities and supermodels. These representations give women an unrealistic illusion of the perfect beauty standard, and this ideal gets passed down to girls of all ages.

Socialization is the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to societal standards. Socialization is essential to society because it sets specific norms and prepares individuals to meet those expectations. Socialization can begin at home and school and continue with peer groups. Culture and accompanying values can significantly affect socialization in girls’ society. Girls’ values or traits learned through socialization include body culture, community-oriented, social, supportive, intuitiveness, empathy, patience, sweet, and nurturing. These traits are all associated with girlhood.

For many women on social media, creating a robust digital self-representation is essential for their self-esteem. The more likes and comments you get on social media, the more people find you attractive. Social media amplifies what society feels is the ideal look of the decade. The perfect look has changed over time with each decade, from being thin to the curvaceous look we see today. This article shows how impressionable girls’ culture is and how easily stereotypes can form. In the article titled “Miss, You Look a Bratz Doll”: On Chonga Girls and Sexual Aesthetic Excess, Jillian Hernandez analyzed how social media influencers in the Latina society participated in the emergence of a famous icon known as the “Chonga.” the “Chonga” was an empowerment tool for the working class. Her characteristics included: being sexy, aggressive, having a high sexual appetite, and being ghetto. Her attire included: high-waisted jeans, tinted shades, and long acrylic nails. This icon’s uprising came from magazines, movies, television shows, and celebrities depicting this image on their social media pages (Hernandez, 2009). The impact of “emerging icons” on how we view ourselves as women strongly connects to social media influencers. Women begin to idolize these icons and strive to be like them. But how far will women go to achieve this “perfect” look?

“Everyone wants to look like Kim Kardashian.” – Kris Jenner (Vivienne, 2017) Plastic surgery, butt injections, lip fillers, and breast implants have been the hype in the last five years due to celebrity influences and endorsements. Celebrity endorsements shape social media because they get paid to promote products. For example, social media icon Kim Kardashian has set the tone and standard for the cosmetic market. She owns a billion-dollar makeup company that sells out to millions of women all over the globe. Some magazines have named her “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.” Images of her body, face, and tanned skin tone have culturally molded the current standard of what young girls aim to look like.

Nevertheless, how do these images affect women’s psyche? When an unattainable goal is strived for, it can cause emotional distress and low self-esteem. In the article titled, “I will not hate myself because you cannot accept me”: Problematizing empowerment and gender-diverse selfies,” Son Vivienne discusses how non-cis-gendered women striving for this beauty standard is problematic. She analyzes how social media platforms frame body positivity as “empowering” for cisgender, but for transgender, androgynous, agender, or nonbinary women social media presentations cause tensions with one’s social identity and social representations. This article argues how the lack of positive body image and representations for non-cisgender people can lead to depression or even suicide. The article proposes that we, as social media users diversify whom we follow online and keep an open discussion on interpersonal complications we as women deal with in the framing of beauty. (Vivienne, 2017)

Social media and feminine discourse are completely intersected. Women use social media platforms to discuss topics often kept in the dark. Social media forces challenging discussion to be in the public eye. In the article titled “How Girls are Finding Empowerment through Being Sad,” Lucy Watson analyzes how Instagram artist and photographer Audrey Wollen is trying to change how social media portrays women’s beauty, emotions, and status through her “Sad Girl Theory.” Wollen wanted to spark social and feminine discourse via social media, showing that women are not always happy. Being a woman is hard, and Wollen wants her viewers to stray away from the traditional “perfect” imagery. She uses photographs of girls to explore an avenue rarely discussed: female sadness as a “form of resistance.” Wollen claims that contemporary feminism asks for so much from women: happiness, smiling, self-love, and great sex. Expanding this form of resistance is beneficial for all women. It expands our social identity as a community and helps dismantle the patriarchal system. It helps make our emotions publicly valid. The “Sad Girl Theory” illustrates a reality that many women experience to try to move towards a better social media space. (Watson, 2016) (Wilson, 2018)

Blogs play a significant role in feminine discourse. Writing blogs promotes social awareness about social issues, beauty products, and helpful tips for self-esteem (Busetta, 2015). In the article titled “Moving toward the ugly: A politic beyond desirability. The beginning with Disability by Mia Mingus discusses Mingus, a blogger, who is trying to have feminine culture move towards the idea of everyone being “ugly.” Mingus further says that there is beauty in being “ugly” because it advocates for the inclusivity of everyone regardless of race, gender, class, ableism, sexual orientation, and sex. Blogs give their users an open space to discuss current events and personal dilemmas. Mingus used her space to discuss being more inclusive beyond traditional status and beauty norms. Bloggers like Mingus show the positive impact that social media can have on the public and the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to make real change for women. (Mingus, 2017) (Wilson, 2018)

Social media, if used positively, can create tremendous change and reach people worldwide. For women, it is essential to recognize that the standards placed on us are used to police our bodies and minds. Using our social media platforms to speak out about social issues we deal with daily helps connect us. The multiple articles addressed were to tie in the main points that social media shapes and molds the way we view ourselves and the world around us. It is up to us to pay attention to reality, not what we always read online. Girlhood can be a complicated idea to tackle and dissect. Nevertheless, understanding any significant idea starts with a discussion.


Busetta, L., & Coladonato, V. (2015). Introduction be your selfie: Identity, aesthetics and power in digital self-representation. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 8(6).

Hernandez, J. (2009). ” Miss, you look like a Bratz doll”: On chonga girls and sexual-aesthetic excess. NWSA Journal, 63-90.

Mingus, M. (2017). Moving toward the ugly: A politic beyond desirability. In Beginning with Disability (pp. 151-155). Routledge.

Vivienne, S. (2017). “I will not hate myself because you cannot accept me”: Problematizing empowerment and gender-diverse selfies. Popular Communication, 15(2), 126-140.

Watson, L. (2016). How Girls are Finding Empowerment Through Being Sad Online. Dazed Digital.

Wilson, Anaya. (2018) Article Review 5. Student Paper. Unpublished manuscript.

Wilson, Anaya. (2018) Article Review 5. Student Paper. Unpublished manuscript.

Wilson, Anaya. (2018) Article Review 5. Student Paper. Unpublished manuscript.


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