A TikToker Shows The Beauty Standards Of Different Decades By Adjusting Her Body Shape On Video

Trends come and go, but one thing that has remained consistent throughout history is the pursuit of beauty. And today, just like in the past, people are no less willing to go to certain lengths to achieve the current trending look. However, there's a plot twist! Enter the social media era, where everyone can edit themselves to perfection with just a few taps on their phone.

By Simone Sydel5 min read
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Nowadays, it's not just celebrities and models who can have perfect faces and bodies. Thanks to free apps like Facetune and Instagram, anyone can give themselves a virtual makeover.

And while some argue that there's nothing wrong with a little digital enhancement now and then, others are concerned about the impact these filters have on young people's body image. After all, if everyone's online persona is airbrushed and perfect, it can be easy to start feeling like you're not good enough in real life.

But the fact is, we live in a world that has been obsessed with beauty for centuries. So even though the way we pursue beauty has changed with technology, the idea of trying to conform to standards is nothing new. To show just how much beauty standards have changed over time, one TikTok user decided to use the app's body-altering filters to give herself a makeover from different decades.

And today, we're going to take a look at her transformation and see how the ideal body type has changed throughout history, but also discuss the potential dangers of chasing perfection. So, without further ado, let's get started!

A Brief History of Bizarre Beauty Trends

We know that every decade throughout history had a beauty trend we now consider bizarre. For example, the '90s were all about the super thin, waif-like look popularized by models like Kate Moss. In the 2000s, it was all about being excessively tan and having big, voluptuous lips. And now, in the 2020s, we're all about filters and face-tuning that help us achieve the perfect image, even if it's just for a few seconds on social media. But going back throughout history, this is not something that’s only been happening for the last 30 years.

Let's not forget that Chinese women in the 10th century used to bind their feet to make them look smaller, while ladies of upper-class England purposely made themselves sick with tuberculosis because the symptoms, which included unhealthily pale and tender skin, skeletal thinness, and glinting eyes, were considered to be desirable during the Victorian era.

And don't get me started on Italy, where, during the Renaissance period, women used eyedrops made of poisonous berries to make their pupils appear larger as they believed it made them more alluring.

Now, I'm not saying that we're currently anywhere near as bad as that. But, it's not like we’re much better, either. We’re now in an age where we can edit ourselves to look however we want with just a few taps on our phones. And while you could argue that there's nothing wrong with using filters and face-tuning to eliminate issues such as texture, redness, and blemishes, the line gets blurry when people use these tools to change their features and body shapes.

This is where things can get dangerous because having a false sense of what you actually look like can lead to an obsession with real or perceived physical flaws. And social media is not helping the situation.

"What I Would Look Like If I Had the Perfect Body?"

In a recent TikTok video that garnered over 13 million views, influencer Cassey Ho (@blogilates) shows how the beauty standards of different decades can be achieved by simply adjusting her body shape with the help of digital filters.

She starts the video by saying, "What I would look like if I had the perfect body throughout history," and proceeds to literally morph her body on camera to fit the different trends.

For the 1920s, she gives herself a straight waist, skinny legs, and flat chest, and points out the fact that women used to bind their chest in order to make them look smaller, as this was considered to be the ideal body type during that period.

For the 1950s, she gives herself an hourglass figure with a tiny waist, fuller hips, and larger breasts, and points out that Elizabeth Taylor, who was glorified for her 20-inch waist, was considered to be the epitome of beauty during that period.

And, of course, Cassey also points out the 2020s, where we’re seeing the rise of the BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift) look popularized by Instagram models and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, which led to an obsession for an extreme hourglass figure, big breasts, tiny waist, flat tummy, and a large butt.

So, what's the big issue? While Cassey's video was meant to be light-hearted and informative, it comes with an important message that emphasizes our obsession with treating our bodies like a fast fashion trend.

We’re constantly looking for ways to change and improve our appearance, even to the point where we’re willing to use face and body-tuning filters to make ourselves look perfect while knowing full well that the image we’re seeing is not an accurate representation of reality. So, at what point do we stop and ask ourselves, "Is this really necessary?" Do we need to change our appearance so drastically just to fit in with the latest trend?

The Harmful Side of Being Obsessed with Perfection

As much as we would like to think that we’re in control of our thoughts and actions, the truth is we’re not immune to the harmful effects of the perceived perfection social media seems to feed us.

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are ubiquitous in young people’s lives. But, as recent research suggests, the psychological well-being of young people may be at stake as a result. And a concerning number of emerging studies have identified a group that may be particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of social media perfection – female adolescents.

Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by irrational standards and harsh self-criticism. People high in self-critical perfectionism are likely to set uncompromising standards for their appearance and compare themselves negatively with others. They also tend to feel that other people or society in general demands perfection.

This can be particularly alarming when we consider the fact that perfectionism, especially when it comes to body image, has been linked to a host of negative outcomes, such as depression, eating disorders, and even thoughts and ideas about self-harm.

In a study that aimed to examine whether perfectionists are more vulnerable to the effects of social media, 135 women were asked to complete a series of surveys that measured their perfectionism levels, body appreciation, and depressive symptoms as well as their social media use. The findings indicated that participants who were highly self-critical perfectionists were most likely to have more significant depressive symptoms and lower body appreciation. Unsurprisingly, the girls reported even more depressive symptoms and negative body image when comparing their appearance negatively to others on social media.

This is just one example of many studies that have found a correlation between perfectionism, particularly when it comes to body image, and mental health issues. But what's even scarier is that the women who reported using face or body-modifying filters also said they feel happier with how they look after using the filters. This suggests that we’re not only becoming more obsessed with perfection, but we’re also starting to believe that the edited version of ourselves looks better than the real thing. And this can very easily make many people chase after an impossible standard that doesn't exist in real life, sinking their self-esteem and mental health in the process.

Are Face and Body Tuning Filters the New Normal?

Face and body-tuning filters are becoming more and more realistic, to the point where we can no longer tell if the person we’re looking at is real or not. What we think is a beautiful young woman with perfect skin, big eyes, and a slim physique might actually be a 50-year-old man using editing apps to morph himself into a woman for fun and laughs…but also for potentially malicious purposes.

This technology opens an entirely different subject: Social media can be a dangerous place where people can get catfished, scammed out of their money, emotionally hurt, and even have their security and lives compromised by leading them into extremely dangerous situations. After all, the financial losses that victims suffer in catfishing or "romance scams" rank among the highest amounts lost through all internet crimes. In 2020, more than 23,000 victims across the United States sent scammers over $605 million, according to the FBI.

Digital filters and other forms of photo and video editing are here to stay, so we will have to learn how to deal with them by training ourselves not to take everything we see on social media as the naked truth. This will definitely not be easy because we’re hardwired to believe that what we see with our own eyes is real. We have to remember that believing something that we've seen with our own eyes is only possible when what we’re seeing is in front of us and not on a screen.

Closing Thoughts

While some people are saying that the use of face and body-tuning filters is a harmless way to fix your appearance and have some fun on social media, others are wary of these tools being the modern way for people to chase after an impossible standard of beauty.

So, what do you think? Is the use of digital tools that alter your features proof of our obsession with perfection, or is it just harmless fun we will eventually grow tired of and move on to something else? Let us know in the comments below!

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