“Social media influencers these days are starting to look like beauty clones,” comments HuffPost author Julia Brucculieri. And she is not wrong. Go to any major beauty IG starlet’s page and their look is identical: full pouty matte lips, well-groomed brows, a contoured face, long (usually fake) dark eyelashes, and a swipe (or three) of highlighter.
But why has this homogenized expression of beauty become something people aim for? Why has the question Why be you when you can be them? grown popular?
Determined to find out why the Instagram face trend has taken off, Brucculieri spoke to beauty historian Rachel Weingarten; psychology professor and author Renee Engeln; and clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Brustein.
So, How Did We Get Here?
Weingarten shares with HuffPost that thanks to the internet, we no longer have to travel to see beauty trends from all over the world, nor do we need to wait for them to make their way to us. In one click we can learn about popular beauty trends in Japan, for example, and we can participate in them. “The other thing that happened is people are no longer clearly defined by their ethnicity, their race, even their gender,” says Weingarten. Instagram face is something that can work on anyone—the look is accessible and thus a potential reason why people online conform to it.
People Want to Fit In
Engeln and Brustein divulge that celebrities (e.g., the Kardashians) are huge drivers of society’s beauty ideals, and in attempting to fit in with these ideals, many people mimic stars. Generally speaking, celebrities and IG models are viewed as what is considered attractive. Therefore people—who by nature are social creatures and seek social acceptance—copy and strive for these beauty standards in order to fit in and feel validated.
What Does It All Mean?
“For Weingarten, Brustein and Engeln, the emergence of this homogenized expression of beauty can be problematic,” writes HuffPost. The fact of the matter is that people do not all look the same—we do not all have full brows, long lashes, smooth skin, and access to expensive contour palettes. Engeln states that when we see this kind of uniformity, it’s a real denial of human physical features.
And while society should not shame those who wish to participate in current beauty trends, perhaps asking more of Why look like them when you can look like you? VS Why look like you when you can look like them? could benefit everyone.
To read more about why IG influencers are all starting to look the same, go to HuffPost.
Photo: Ben Weber via Unsplash