Beauty standards have long been ingrained in societies worldwide, dictating norms and ideals that individuals strive to attain. In recent years, with the rise of social media and pervasive digital imagery, these standards have become more omnipresent and unrealistic than ever before. This article delves into the intricate relationship between current beauty standards and mental health, exploring the detrimental effects they can have on individuals.

Unrealistic Expectations:

The portrayal of flawless beauty ideals in media, advertising, and social platforms sets unattainable standards for individuals. This constant exposure can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, contributing to anxiety and depression.

Studies have shown a correlation between increased social media usage and body dissatisfaction, particularly among adolescents and young adults who are more susceptible to influence.

Body Image Concerns:

The perpetuation of a narrow definition of beauty often focuses on specific body types, skin tones, and facial features, marginalizing those who do not fit these criteria. This exclusionary nature can lead to body dysmorphia and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Research suggests that exposure to idealized images of beauty can lead to internalization of these standards, leading individuals to engage in harmful behaviors to conform to societal expectations.

Psychological Distress:

Constant comparison with digitally altered images and influencers promoting unattainable beauty can foster feelings of worthlessness and discontentment with one’s appearance.

The pressure to conform to beauty standards can create a cycle of self-criticism and negative self-talk, eroding mental well-being and increasing vulnerability to conditions like depression and anxiety disorders.

Impact on Self-Esteem and Identity:

Individuals who do not conform to prevailing beauty standards may experience discrimination and prejudice, further exacerbating feelings of alienation and self-doubt.

The commodification of beauty can lead individuals to equate self-worth with physical appearance, neglecting other aspects of personal growth and identity development.

The influence of current beauty standards on mental health cannot be understated. From fostering unrealistic expectations to perpetuating body image concerns and psychological distress, these standards contribute significantly to the prevalence of mental health disorders worldwide. Recognizing the detrimental impact of beauty ideals is crucial in fostering a more inclusive and accepting society that values diversity and promotes positive body image and mental well-being.


Fardouly, J., Diedrichs, P. C., Vartanian, L. R., & Halliwell, E. (2015). Social comparisons on social media: The impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood. Body image, 13, 38-45.

Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: A meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological bulletin, 134(3), 460.

Tiggemann, M., & Slater, A. (2014). NetGirls: The Internet, Facebook, and body image concern in adolescent girls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47(6), 630-643.

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