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Is TikTok Making Us More Insecure?

June 4, 2024

 So, I've been thinking a lot about TikTok lately—like, a lot. Not just because I can't stop watching those 15-second videos (seriously, they're like chips, you can't have just one), but because there’s this whole other side to TikTok that’s got me wondering: is TikTok making us all feel a little…  ugly?

TikTok: The Hype House of Beauty Standards

TikTok isn't just where music hits go viral anymore; it's where beauty trends are born. From glass skin to no hip dips, TikTok is creating everyone's beauty standards whether we are aware of it or not. But here's the catch—these seemingly spontaneous displays of beauty are not as effortless as they appear. Behind every "casual" TikTok video lies hours of preparation, heaps of makeup, perfect lighting, and often a touch of FaceTune or other editing apps. These videos which take hours to perfect, are sold to us as the everyday norm.

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The For You Page: A Dangerous Tool

The heart of TikTok lies in its algorithm—a brilliant yet terrifying tool that learns what you like and shoves more of the same down your throat. It’s wild how TikTok knows exactly what to show to keep us scrolling, it will show you exactly what you are insecure about and how to supposedly fix it. That endless stream of flawless-looking people can do a number on your self-esteem. One minute you're watching someone’s glow-up transformation and the next, you’re questioning why your skin doesn't glow like a lightbulb.

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New Day, New Trend, New Insecurity

Seriously, TikTok’s beauty trends move fast. If it's not glass skin, it’s deciding if you are high or low visual weight. And while it’s all fun and games, when you're trying to keep up, it feels like you’re just chasing the next thing that’ll make you "TikTok pretty." No one knew the difference between ‘girl pretty’ and ‘boy pretty’ before it started trending on Tik Tok and feeling like you don't fit into those very narrow categories can lead you to think you aren't adequate. Still, in reality, if you never saw this trend you would have never thought of it. 

So yes, TikTok is making you feel ugly because when we are constantly being fed new beauty standards what else are we supposed to feel?

How unnatural beauty standards became a multibillion-dollar medical industry

Source: TorontoLife

Real Talk: The Pressure Is Real

Let’s get real for a second. All these trends? They’re fun, but they also put a ton of pressure on us—every week, if not every day, TikTok births a new trend. Everyone scrambles to jump on the bandwagon, often morphing their appearances and personalities to fit into the ever-narrowing mould of what's trending. This constant cycle can make anyone feel outdated or inadequate if they fail to keep up. 

Source: Psych2Go

So, is TikTok Making Us More Insecure?

What do all these trends and beauty standards do to a regular user? It’s simple. Constant exposure to these high standards creates and amplifies insecurities. For many, scrolling through TikTok is no longer just a pastime; it’s a harsh reminder of the features they lack. Features, mind you, that are often unattainable without professional help.

Take the "perfect" faces and bodies splashed across your For You page. These are not the norm but rather the exception. Yet, their prevalence on the platform can make any viewer feel as though they're the standard everyone should meet. It’s no wonder that plastic surgeons and cosmetic brands have grown their industries, with skyrocketing inquiries from young users desperate to look the part.

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Bottom Line: You Do You!

So yes, TikTok is likely the reason you are feeling ugly but, here's a radical idea: What if we choose not to let it? Let’s try to enjoy the platform for what it was meant to be—a space for creativity and fun. 

Plus if you try to pursue all these beauty trends you will end up looking exactly like everyone else. Is that something you really want? Why be just like everyone else when you can be you?