“When I grow up, I Want to Look Like a Snapchat Filter!”

There’s no denying social media has changed the way that we see ourselves- but does it have such a high influence that it’s causing people to go under the knife in order to achieve their dream appearance?

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Not too long ago if photos were taken of us they had to be developed and printed- we didn’t have access to the content immediately. Photos of ourselves would be shared around the coffee table, not the Internet. If we looked goofy in a few, we could brush it off as being something as simple as a bad hair day and not think about it too much. However, as cameras became more accessible, and camera phones raged in popularity, it seemed as if everyone had the ability to record themselves at any moment. As social media platforms began connecting people from all over the world, suddenly everyone had a stage to showcase themselves on, with one of the main focuses being on physical appearance. This constant awareness has caused a shift in how we have come to view ourselves- and plastic surgeons have noticed this trend.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The “Selfie” has taken the world by storm. When I checked how many posts are currently using the hashtag #Selfie on Instagram, the number was over 428 million- and that’s just people that are actually using that hashtag for their photo. It should also be acknowledged that that number is increasing by the second. As a selfie is simply the act of taking a photo of yourself, it makes sense that it has dramatically increased self-awareness. The problem with this method of taking photos however is that what we’re seeing isn’t entirely accurate. No matter what, camera angles are constantly manipulating the way we look. When taking a selfie, the shot is typically only being taken from a few feet away from your face. This can dramatically alter your entire appearance, and even has the ability to make your nose look up to 33% larger.

Many people choosing to undergo surgeries or alter their appearance have decided to do so in order to look better in photos. A survey conducted by facial plastic surgeons in 2017 found an increase of 55% of people wanting to get work done in order to look better in selfies. This rise can be widely credited to the fact that we now have the ability to easily change our appearance with different platforms. By using filters on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook, users can now instantaneously alter their looks, softening any imperfections and creating a more “desirable” image. With easy to use apps such as Facetune, users can quickly change their physical appearance drastically, once again creating a more “desirable” image of themselves.

A new term called “Snapchat Dysmorphia” has been coined by a British cosmetic doctor named Tijion Esho. This new phenomenon came about when the doctor noticed an increase of patients bringing in selfies of themselves that had been altered by filters. They would show a photo of themselves with airbrushed skin, big, bright eyes and big lips. This was unrealistic as the photos they were hoping to look like had been digitally manipulated, causing simply unattainable results. This can be seen as dangerous as it has led many users to believing their self-worth is based on their appearance. For years, marketing companies have been using similar techniques to edit their models, which is believed to have significantly increased the rate of eating disorders in people, especially young women.

Photo by Tim Savage from Pexels

Another big factor that has caused a rise in plastic surgery is the societal acceptance of having these procedures done. Many celebrities and influencers will use their platforms to embrace their own personal surgeries and share their positive experiences with their audience. This brings more awareness to specific treatments, and could help persuade a user to receive a similar treatment. Kylie Jenner is a great example of this, as when she admitted in an interview that she gets lip fillers, a clinic in the UK saw the procedure increase by 70%.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

This brings the ultimate question: are people choosing plastic surgery because they genuinely want to, or because they’re comparing themselves to what they’re seeing online? A recent study found that 42% of people reported feeling less confident about their body image because of social media- while being constantly surrounded by “picture perfect people,” it has led many users to believing their self-worth is based on their appearance.  

As we continue to use social media as such a big part of our lives, it is without a doubt many people will continue to base their worth on their appearance. In order to combat this ideology, we must constantly be reminding ourselves that often what we are seeing on social media is not entirely real.

Photo by Aline Viana from Pexels

How do you think social media has impacted the plastic surgery industry? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂


Promotional Posts

Facebook: “When I Grow up, I Want to Look Like a Snapchat Filter!” –https://bit.ly/2XUbABA

Twitter: “When I Grow up, I Want to Look Like a Snapchat Filter!” #PhotoshopMyLife – https://bit.ly/2XUbABA


Sources

Akbareian, Emma. (2015, May 7). Kylie Jenner Lip Filler Confession Leads to a 70% Increase in Enquiries for the Procedure. Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/news/kylie-jenner-lip-filler-confession-leads-to-70-rise-in-enquiries-for-the-procedure-10232716.html

Chiu, Allison. (2018, August 6). Patients are Desperate to Resemble Their Doctored Selfies. Plastic Surgeons Alarmed by ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia.’ The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/08/06/patients-are-desperate-to-resemble-their-doctored-selfies-plastic-surgeons-alarmed-by-snapchat-dysmorphia/?noredirect=on

Nuñez, Alanna. (n.d). Could Social Media Drive you to have Plastic Surgery? Shape. https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/could-social-media-drive-you-have-plastic-surgery

Parsa, Keon and Reilly, Michael. (2019, September 17).  Social Media and the Rising Trend of Cosmetic Surgery. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/dissecting-plastic-surgery/201909/social-media-and-the-rising-trend-cosmetic-surgery

Social Media has Caught the Travel Bug

A few weeks after my 20th birthday, I filled a backpack with personal belongings and hopped on a plane headed for the other side of the planet. Although the physical distance from my family and friends back home in Canada was very daunting at times, I often felt safe as I always had a way of staying connected; using social media.

Photo taken by me, Australia 2018

I was active on social media my entire time away. It was a fantastic way to upload photos, find beautiful spots, join groups and share moments. Even though I was doing a solo trip, I was always connected and I had continuous virtual support from others wishing me well and engaging with my posts. It also allowed me to easily keep up with the important news from back home, despite the time difference that made actual phone calls few and far between. By using different social platforms I had the ability to share experiences with my friends more easily than ever before.

Photo taken by me, Indonesia 2018

Social media is filled with beautiful spots, many of which are now recorded and being geographically tagged. Whether it’s a lavender farm or a bungee jump, all of these experiences are being broadcast online. This gives people the opportunity to discover places they may have never come across otherwise. I have definitely chosen to go somewhere based off a post I’ve seen on social media. It is such a convenient and easy way to find new things to do.

A great advantage of using social platforms while traveling is the ability to join groups full of like-minded people. When my sister and I were living in a van in New Zealand, we joined a bunch of NZ Backpacker groups on Facebook. The groups all contained thousands of members, with many active users sharing their own photos, personal experiences and advice. With an endless pool of information, any of our questions were easily answered. These groups are wonderful as well for people looking to meet up with others while on the road, as many people make posts about rideshares, jobs, or simply meeting up for a coffee.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

But is all this knowledge doing more harm than good? As convenient as it seems to be for the individual person, it is thought social media is helping play a big role in over tourism. Because many hidden gems that were once known only by locals are now being geotagged, anyone in the world can have access to their specific coordinates. For areas equipped to deal with a high volume of people this isn’t a major concern, however many natural wonders have been struggling.

Horseshoe Bend in Arizona is just one example of a once hidden gem that has fallen victim to this. What was once a place that got at most a few thousand visitors a year, now sees about 2.2 million– and this number is continuously growing. This was caused by the location being geotagged on Instagram, which led it to going viral. The landscape was not able to handle that amount of tourism, and so an extensive redesign had to be undertaken to protect the land and visitors. This trend of locations going viral does not seem to be slowing down – a recent study found over 40% of consumers under the age of 30 decide where to travel based on how “Instagrammable” the destination is.

As social media becomes more popular, so do targeted places, resulting in many locations having to adapt. The city of Vienna took an interesting approach to getting people to put down their phones. When they started to see an increase of social media posts in 2018, the Tourism Board started a marketing campaign called “Unhastag Vienna.” The point of this movement is to encourage people to put down their phones and to actually live in the moment, by really experiencing the city behind their posts.

An organization called “Leave No Trace” originated in 1999 with the principals of being conscious of how you are treating the environment while you enjoy the outdoors. In recent years, they have been trying to persuade people away from geotagging specific locations, and instead doing more broad areas if you are to do it at all. They gently remind people that although tagging a specific location can seem innocent, it can significantly impair some areas.

Photo taken by me, New Zealand 2020

As we continue to see social media grow, it is without a doubt travel will continue to evolve with it. Being more conscious about what we post in order to keep areas pristine will be a measure we all need to take in the future so that these places can continue to thrive.  

Has social media ever affected your own travel destinations? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂


Promotional Posts

Facebook: Social Media Has Caught the Travel Bug: https://bit.ly/2Xr5AQD

Twitter: Social Media’s Effect on Travel: https://bit.ly/2Xr5AQD #CaughtTheTravelBug


Sources

Fuller, Melynda. (2019, May 20). Vienna Tourist Board’s ‘Unhashtag Vienna’ Campaign Challenges Visitors to Explore Offline. Media Post. https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/336048/vienna-tourist-boards-unhashtag-vienna-campaign.html

Gingles, Natasha. (2019, February 7). #TravelInspo: Social Media’s Rising Impact in Travel Marketing and E-Commerce. We Are Marketing. https://www.wearemarketing.com/blog/travelinspo-social-medias-rising-impact-in-travel-marketing-and-e-commerce.html

Haubursin, Christophe. (2018, October 31). What happens when nature goes viral? Vox. https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/10/31/18047386/geotagged-instagram-nature-harm

Lake, Zoe and Rulli, Maggie. (2019, July 30). National Parks Officials Grappling With High Volume as Instagram Tourism Booms. Abc News. https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/instagram-tourism-booms-horseshoe-bend-national-parks-officials/story?id=64638198

Walsh, Ailsa. (2018, June 8). New Social Media Guidance. Leave No Trace. https://lnt.org/new-social-media-guidance/

Queens of the Social Age

My sisters and I don’t watch sports on TV- we’re too busy cheering for our favorite queens. Drag Race is our choice for entertainment. A reality competition TV series that revolves around fashion, acting, dancing, and features a range of incredibly creative people all fighting for the title of their country’s “Next Drag Superstar.” While watching the show just recently, one of the contestants labeled themselves as a “Bedroom Queen,” – a newer term, meaning a queen who emerged in the privacy of their home instead of on a stage. This got me thinking: how exactly has social media impacted drag queens?

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Who or What Exactly are Drag Queens?

Drag queens are people, predominantly gay men (however drag does not discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation), who embody a different persona. Typically they are dressed up in “feminine” clothing with heavy, exaggerated makeup. Although there are many theories about its origin, the term “drag” is most notoriously believed to have come from the British theater in the 19th century, where the word was used to describe men who were performing as women on stage. They called this “drag” because of the way their long skirts dragged on the floor.

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

The History of Drag Queens

The earliest recording of the first official “Drag Queen” dates back to the beginning of the 1880’s- and is attributed to an American by the name of William Dorsey Swann. He was the first self-proclaimed drag queen, and was known to all his friends as “The Queen.” Over the course of his life, Swann hosted many secret drag balls that led him to being arrested on several occasions. He was constantly fighting for justice against slavery, racism, the Civil War, just to name a few! He was also the first American activist to lead a queer resistance.

Although Swann is the first recorded drag queen, and should definitely be credited for opening the door for many queens to come afterwards, it is often believed drag was first accepted into American culture in the 19th century, when it was introduced into vaudeville shows. However, as homosexuality was illegal, many people in the LGBTQ+ community were still forced to practice their art form behind closed doors.

When the prohibition occurred in the 1920’s, there were suddenly plenty of underground places where people felt liberated enough to perform in drag and explore their sexuality. Drag balls kicked off around this time, as they were the hub spot for Black queer people to congregate in their “houses.” As drag became more tied with the LGBTQ+ community, it was no longer accepted in mainstream entertainment, like vaudeville shows. This meant performers were forced to perform primarily in nightclubs and bars in bigger cities such as NYC, LA, and San Francisco.

After the 1961 Stonewall riots in NYC, and continuing into the 1990s, gay culture was seeing a growth in support, bringing drag along with it. Documentaries like “Paris is Burning,” and festivals like “Wigstock” all helped make drag even more visible to the public eye.

RuPaul, arguably the world’s most famous drag queen, took the world by storm in the 1990’s and has since been highly credited for bringing drag into pop culture. He went on to create the reality competition TV Show “Rupaul’s Drag Race” in 2009, which has had a massive influence in making drag much more mainstream today.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

How has Social Media Impacted Drag?

Social media has helped open doors for many people in the drag community. What was once required in order to enter the drag scene is no longer. Since shows are typically held in big cities, using online platforms gives people from any neck of the woods the opportunity to become a well-known success. It also allows queens who are too young to perform in standard shows the chance to begin their drag career early, as well as helps many people gain the confidence required when first entering the world of show business.

As a video-sharing platform, Youtube has had a huge impact on this industry. Because of it, the drag community was no longer confined to being solely in nightclubs. William Belli, a popular American drag performer, credits Youtube for kickstarting his entire career – “The videos I put on Youtube have expanded my audience beyond what I could have just done at Hamburger Mary’s. People saw the video, started booking me, and literally 40-plus countries and a thousand gigs later I can basically say that Youtube has bought me a house.”

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Another big advantage of social media is that now instead of having to learn all the tricks of the trade by attending live shows, queens are now able to benefit from tutorials all across social media. Plastique Tiara, a star from RuPauls Drag Race, says social media taught her almost everything as she entered the world of drag.

Instagram is another platform that has benefited drag queens greatly. As a mainly visual platform, queens can use their accounts to serve as a portfolio, giving them the opportunity to brand themselves. It’s also a great way for queens to build relationships with their fans, and for their communities to stay connected.

Jane Smoker, a drag queen based in Vancouver, appreciates the opportunities social media has given her. “Social media is definitely a big tool for any artist, whether you’re a drag queen, an actor or a singer. To find recognition online from people who just love drag, not for the TV show, but because they love the art and the concept we’re throwing out- this girl-gang vibe- it’s really nice.”

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Social media has been a lifesaver for many entertainers during COVID-19. As many queens rely heavily on their shows as a way of making an income, many have been turning to online spaces to perform. By using social media platforms they are able to promote their own and fellow Queens’ online shows to a wide community.

However, with all the positives of social media, there are of course negatives as well. Some people argue that social media has damaged the drag community, as it has put all drag queens in the same kind of box- making it seem as if the only way of doing drag is by being a “looks” or “fashion” queen. The tradition of drag is much more than that- it is centered on being a performer, being an activist, building a strong community, and so much more.

Pixie Aventura, one of the top NYC queens, expressed her concerns in a way that sums it up perfectly. She said, “I feel that people are trying to make rules about what drag is suppose to be, but drag defies definition.”

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Queens who have found their rise to fame through the nightlife scene worry the rise of Social Media queens will cause people to have a narrow view on what it means to be a drag queen.

As social media continues to grow, it’s without a doubt the drag queen community will continue to be affected- for better and for worse. Although the drag experience has moved from the underground scene to the sitting room, making it more accessible for everyone, the core of drag should always be remembered as being full of love, art and self-expression.

How do you think social media will continue to change the drag world? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂


Promotional Posts

Facebook: Queens in the Age of Social Media

Twitter: How Queens have been Impacted by Social Media #QueensOfTheSocialAge #AQuickHerstory


Sources:

Allure. (2018 August 2). “Rupaul’s Drag Race” Cast Explains The History Of Drag Culture. Celebrity. https://www.allure.com/video/watch/rupaul-s-drag-race-cast-explains-the-history-of-drag-culture

BBC. (n.d). The Fabulous History of Drag. BBC Bitesize. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zbkmkmn

Cracker, Miz. (2017 December 15). In the Age of Instagram Queens, Drag Artists Debate If Performance Is Necessary. Slate. https://slate.com/human-interest/2017/12/does-drag-require-performance-or-is-instagram-enough.html

Harris, Aleesha. (2018 July 27). Pride 2018: Drag Queens. Vancouver Sun. https://vancouversun.com/entertainment/local-arts/pride-2018-drag-queens-on-instagram-makeup-recognize-where-it-came-from

Joseph, Channing G. (2020 January 31). The First Drag Queen Was A Former Slave. The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/article/society/drag-queen-slave-ball/

Katz, Evan R. (2020 February 12). How Youtube Changed Drag Culture. Rolling Stone. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/youtube-changed-drag-rupaul-lady-bunny-948220/

Masterclass. (2020 April 2). What is Drag? A Primer on Drag Queens in Popular Culture. Lifestyle. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/a-primer-on-drag-queens-in-popular-culture#what-is-the-history-of-drag

National Centre For Transgender Equality. (2017 April 28). Understanding Drag. https://transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-drag

Ore, Johnathan. (2020 February 28). America’s First Drag Queen was a Former Slave and LGBT Rights Crusader, says Historian. CBC Radio. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/teck-frontier-mine-medical-assistance-in-dying-1990s-mls-wilson-cruz-the-first-drag-queen-and-more-1.5477892/america-s-first-drag-queen-was-a-former-slave-and-lgbt-rights-crusader-says-historian-1.5478181

Real, Evan. (2019 July 3). Plastique Tiara on How Social Media Has Shaped a “New Generation” Of Queens. The Hollywood Reporter. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rupauls-drag-race-star-plastique-tiara-talks-new-generation-drag-1193159

Sanders, Sam. (2019 June 27).  How Drag Queens Have Sashayed Their Way Through History. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2019/06/27/736320026/how-drag-queens-have-sashayed-their-way-through-history

Them. (2018 September 20). InQueery: Trixie Mattel Breaks Down the History of “Drag.” Culture. https://www.them.us/story/inqueery-drag

Social Media: Keeping Us Together, Even When We’re Apart

In a pre-pandemic world (or, anytime before 2020 as the majority of us know it), social media was being used mainly as a tool to help us keep up with the latest news. From following old roommates as they navigated their way through the Swiss Alps, to watching coworkers raise their children, the general public used these applications mainly for day-to-day updates on each other’s lives.

Photo by Fauxels from Pexels

Enter March 2020, when COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. It forced anyone who wasn’t an essential or frontline worker to stay inside, keeping us apart from many of the people we love. In this time of isolation, social media provided us with an area where we could all continue to come together, safely. Our physical distance began to matter even less, as we were finding more and more ways to stay connected online.

For those of us who stayed home while restrictions were put into place, we experienced our daily routines changing- suddenly a lot of us had a lot more free time during the day.  Compared to normal usage rates, people increased their time spent on social media by 61%.  This can be credited to the fact that social media is a wonderful way to stay connected, despite being apart physically. In a time where we have to practice social distancing for each others’ safety, it is extremely important for our mental well being that we are still socially connected.

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Tik Tok blew up, encouraging people to stay active with dance routines, Instagram flooded with tips on being aware of your mental health while isolating, Twitter was filled with the most up to date information on the virus. Suddenly it seemed as if the whole world knew how to bake a loaf of bread while completing a HIIT workout at the same time. It was pretty wonderful seeing how creative some people were getting online.

Despite the distance, myself and some friends from overseas all logged into Zoom for a book club, with people joining in from their homes in England, France, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and of course, Canada. I can safely say if it weren’t for a global pandemic, we wouldn’t have organized something like this- not because we didn’t want too, but because were all too busy with our regular lives.  In a pandemic that has caused us to finally slow down, social media continues to help grow our relationships with the people we love.

Photo by Anna Schvets from Pexel

Small businesses have turned to social media to help them survive in this new era of existing mainly online. Many businesses and organizations have been using social media as a way to stay in touch with their consumers, keeping them up to date with their latest information and policies.

Facebook has announced their launch of “Shops,” a section created for businesses to show and sell their products directly through the platform- at no expense to the business owner. This feature can also seen on Instagram, giving businesses a higher chance of reaching more people. Instagram also released a new feature that allows businesses to use their Story section or profile to make sales- whether this be purchasing a gift card, placing an order, or creating fundraiser stickers. This allows customers to keep up to date with local businesses, and continue their support. Pinterest reported an increase of 351% of people searching “support small businesses,” during this time, which goes to show people really are trying to support local.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

As the world cries out for “normal” to return, we are coming to realize that we will have to redefine what this word means. With 6.8 million people now working from home (40% of Canada’s workforce), companies are going to have to continue to utilize social media as a way to adapt to this huge shift in lifestyle and work environment. For however long we’re encouraged to keep a distance from the majority of the population, we will continue to rely heavily on social media to keep us socially connected.

How have you been using social media to stay connected during these times? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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Promotional Posts

Facebook: Social Media: Keeping Us Together, Even While We’re Apart

Twitter: Social Media: Keeping Us Together, Even While We’re Apart #StayingConnectedFromHome #TogetherWhileApart

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Sources:

Canadian Mental Health Association. (2020, March 25). Understanding Social Distancing And The Importance Of Social Connection. Windsor-Essex County. https://windsoressex.cmha.ca/news/understanding-social-distancing-and-the-importance-of-social-connection/

Chappell, Bill. (2020 March 11). Coronavirus: COVID-19 Is Now Officially A Pandemic, WHO Says. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/11/814474930/coronavirus-covid-19-is-now-officially-a-pandemic-who-says

Gilliand, Nikki. (2020 May 22). How Social Media Platforms Are Helping Small Businesses Amid COVID-19. Econsultancy. https://econsultancy.com/how-social-media-platforms-are-helping-small-businesses-amid-covid-19/

Kantar. (2020, April 3). COVID-19 Barometer: Consumer Attitudes, Media Habits And Expectations. https://www.kantar.com/Inspiration/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Barometer-Consumer-attitudes-media-habits-and-expectations

Pinterest. (2020 April 14). The Pinterest Shop Launches Sustainable Collection Featuring Small Businesses. https://newsroom.pinterest.com/en/sustainability           

St. Denis, Jen. (2020 April 19). Nearly 5 million Canadians Are Working From Home, And Many Like It: Surveys. CTV News. https://bc.ctvnews.ca/nearly-5-million-more-canadians-are-working-from-home-and-many-like-it-surveys-1.4903045

All photos courtesy of Pexels.