The concrete fact that impossible, unattainable beauty standards rule the hearts of mankind is not a shocking revelation to anyone. The concrete fact that these standards evolve and change as mankind grows is also not a shocking revelation. The concrete fact that these standards are harmful, and stupid is, once again, nothing shocking.
However, I doubt a single soul could have predicted the impact a spinoff of Musical.ly could’ve had. TikTok took the world by storm and the platform quickly formed content niches. Makeup, skincare and luxury became a ruling trio on the platform. Easily grabbing viewers’ attention with the allure of beauty and wealth.
But, as with all things, capitalism came into the picture when TikTok launched the TikTok shop on September 12, 2023. This “innovative” way of shopping is, in essence, the same as most other fast fashion/quick consumer shops. Boasting several coupons and products recommended by your favorite influencer. Yippee.
It should be noted that for the most part, the TikTok beauty influencers were relatively tame before the era of TikTok shop. Most influencers just did product reviews or GRWM (get ready with me) content.
But now, with TikTok shop, influencers are turning big profits via promotion of a product they use (and sometimes don’t) by linking the product in the caption of their videos. This in itself isn’t horribly crooked (though it does promote rampant consumerism from companies who don’t care about the environment).
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The issue comes in when you account for the horribly toxic cesspool that is what the beauty niche of TikTok has become. Every video goes along the lines of, “Are you boy pretty or girl pretty? Use this product if you’re boy pretty!” or, “If you’re not using this product, you probably look like you’re putting makeup on a pig! Make sure to buy it so you aren’t an unlovable ugly beast!”
Influencers have realized that if they classify and diagnose every little thing, then they can then offer a product or tool that will “solve” your disgusting face.
These influencers could rival Shakespeare with how many words and phrases they create. A few of my most absurd ones include, but are most certainly not limited to, mewing, mogging, maxing and (insert the most peculiar animal) pretty.
Perhaps the worst part of all this is that it’s not just the elderly (20+) falling prey to this, it’s the youth. And I mean the youth, like, children. Actual tweens are destroying their tiny, change-ridden pockets to try and look like their favorite influencer who has diamond-plated veneers and millions to invest in themselves.
Children crying to their parents right now because they got mogged in school. Children are crying in their beds because they think they look like piglets. Children are crying because they feel ugly. Children.
These children are basing themselves off of TikTok, which is its own problem, but they’re also at such a ripe young age, being exposed to the fatal capitalistic wheel.
And that just sucks.
It’s foolish to say that TikTok is the originator of this complex, self-hate is a billion dollar market, but I wouldn’t call it foolish to say that it’s never been this widespread in the youngest of our youth. And there’s realistically nothing we can do.
And that just sucks.
Garrett McEntee is an 18-year-old English freshman from Benton.