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For thousands of years, women all around the world have been using makeup. It is considered that makeup makes women more feminine and attractive. According to McCabe et al. (2020) within a social scene, the use of makeup can deliver a good self-image. It has been scientifically proven that makeup makes women more attractive by enhancing some sexual dimorphic factors like facial contrast. Facial contrast can be defined as the difference in color and brightness between facial features like mouth, eyes, eyebrows, and skin surrounding those body parts. This works on developing sexual dimorphic that the eyes and face of a woman have more facial contrast compared to men.
Women have been considered as the representation of beauty over years. Several advertisements are running over special media or other electronic media that advocate beautiful images of women of any age, size, or shape. With the growth of concepts like computer-enhanced models, photoshop activities an impossible standard of beauty has been developed within society (Mitchem, 2019). As a result, it contributes to developing a feeling of inadequacy and beauty obsession among women. This has led to increased use of makeup among women and boosted the growth of cosmetic market around the world (figure 1). Makeup is becoming popular with the increment in time and in today's time with the presence of social media where millennials can post their photos anytime it is being more popular than ever. People around the globe are using cosmetic products or makeup for several purposes which include career, art, or beauty. Among teen population, makeup has worked as increasing their confidence and enhancing self-expression. Nevertheless, Li et al. (2018) mentioned that there is a negative side of makeup that build in society which includes discrimination based on physical appearance or color. Besides that, it can contribute to excessive skin damage along with lowering self-esteem when makeup is not used.
People living in different cultures respond to facial beauty and attractiveness differently. According to Mitchem (2019), makeup is using from ancient times and was first used by Egyptians where women of Egypt used to use burnt matches and berries to color their eyes or lips and enhance their beauty. The use of makeup has increased in modern society due to the development of different social media platforms that play a crucial role in setting up the standard of beauty. It has been found that social media negatively impacts individuals by exposing them to life-threatening makeup tutorials to enhance acceptance in society. It is an issue as millennials, especially girls and women using social media platforms, are becoming conscious about their physical appearance or body image which is on a large scale negatively impacting their mental health (Henriques and Patnaik, 2020). Over social media, people are continuously portraying body image comparisons, ideal beauty which is affecting the decisions about beauty choice among men and women all around the world.
In order to maintain an effective literature searching strategy, PICO framework has been used in this research. Four aspects are generally there within PICO frameworks which include population, intervention, comparison, and outcome, and are helpful in generating questions required to research for gathering relevant information (Tovey, 2020).
Secondary literature which is published in or after 2018 has been included in this research. Moreover, literature that discusses social representation of makeup, uses of filters on photos while uploading over social media and other information associated with this area have been included in this research.
Journals or articles which are more than five years old or include information that is not sufficient for examining objectives of this research are excluded.
Currently, many women are focusing on photo editing before posting their photos on social media. Apart from this, Qutub (2021) stated that digital technologies are getting developed day by day. Nowadays social media platforms are very popular for all people; Facebook, Instagram and many other platforms are included in social networks. In these platforms, 18-35 aged women are posting their photos by editing to present themselves. Those women to look perfect in photos, so that social media audiences can get attracted towards them use many filters and editing applications. Besides filtering and photo editing, those women are also using cosmetics and surgical processes to look good on social media.
Additionally, Chen et al. (2019) mentioned that social media platforms are used to post different photos with the help of different beauty filters, surgical processes and other popular cosmetics processes are used to enhance their self-esteem. This is a delusion of those women, who are thinking edited photos, using cosmetics and other relevant things are important to look good on social media. 18-35 aged women are mainly following these trends to maintain a good profile on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms.
Many women are using various beauty products to enhance their skin complexion to look good in photos, which make them attractive on social media. Regarding this fact, Lokithasanet al. (2019) mentioned that all social media influencers are establishing a reputation to show their marketing level to enhance their business development. Apart from this, women and other audiences are focusing on those products to get their skincare products. With the help of those products, they are influencing others. In modern days, looks are not the first priority for audiences. They are looking for different editing applications, filters and other processes to bring variation in their photos.
Nowadays, beauty standards have changed and people are changing their styles to post photos on social media. Additionally, many beauty products companies, surgical advertisements and other relevant posts are coming on timelines. By following those processes, many women are changing their beauty products, doing cosmetic surgery and changing their perspectives. However, many positive influencers are also associated on social media, who are spreading positive vibes among audiences. Chen, and Dermawan (2020) explained that YouTube bloggers are presenting many products for skincare. In that case, women are getting attracted towards those products.
Currently, women are getting attracted towards social media platforms; based on this fact, a theoretical model is used in this section to analyse all perspectives. According to Kamal et al. (2020), Technology acceptance model (TAM) has two perspectives, such as perceived ease-of-use and perceived usefulness. Ease of use is determining that audiences are understanding the significance and use of technology and it becomes easy to use. On other perceived effectiveness is determining which technology is going to use or not in their social life. In this way, they are accepting the technical procedures and influencing others with the help of this theory.
This section is going to highlight the specific techniques or procedures used for gathering, selecting, processing, and analysing relevant information regarding the research area.
In order to collect relevant data associated with this research area the research instrument that has been used in this research is questionnaires. According to Ahmad et al. (2019), quantitative data is collected from a larger sample size of population and it helps in collecting quality and authentic information quickly. Therefore, this research has used primary quantitative data that has been collected from women makeup artists and ordinary women within an age group of 18 to 35. Using Google Forum, Survey Monkey and physical questionnaires information associated with makeup uses while being in society have been gathered in this research. These questionnaires have helped in understanding importance of makeup, photoshop allocation, or filters among young women. Nevertheless, there were differences in opinions which have resulted in creating confusion.
Sampling strategy is an important factor in research that helps in analysing the accuracy of questionnaires or survey results. This research has used a randomised sampling strategy which delivered an equal opportunity to all the samples to be chosen. Branson and Dasgupta (2020) mentioned that this sampling strategy delivers less risk of error in research and it is the simplest way of sampling which can be done even with minimum knowledge. This sampling method has resulted in delivering more justified results than generalising as it allows to examine collected data with a minimum chance of risk.
Pilot study is considered as a preliminary, lower sale study that aims to examine main objectives of research. Malmqvist et al. (2019) mentioned that pilot study is a significant step in research as it works on increasing the chance of success in research. Several activities such as testing aims and objectives of the research, examining research tools, and data analysis have been done in pilot study. After testing no significant change has been made in the main study and there was no scope for further improvement. One of the most significant impacts that this study contributes to the main study is that it reduces the chance of failure as to whether appropriate methods, protocols are used or not have been examined through pilot study.
There are several ethical issues that can be performed by a researcher while conducting research and collecting data. In order to avoid such ethical issues in this primary research, informed consent of every participant is gathered, no force or pressure has been created on the participants for answering the questions. Hokke et al. (2018) opined that ethical considerations are generally a set of principles that guide a research practice. Voluntary participation, confidentiality, results communication, anonymity has been included as ethical practises at the time of conducting this research.
This chapter evaluates data extracted from primary quantitative to compared with real-ground data concerning perspectives of women related to social media representation during makeup. Use of statistical representation assists to understand prevalence of using filters and photoshops, and other essentials with respect to social media use.
Q1. What is your gender identity?
Figure 6.1: Gender
The figure shows that all responses are of women, and hence, social media representation with respect to makeup largely prevails with women. Tiggemann and Anderberg (2020) opined that there is both supportive and argumentative observations among women regarding influence of social media with respect to instagram vs. reality.
Q2. What is your age group?
Figure 6.2: Age group
This figure exhibits that vogue of makeup largely prevails within age group of 18-20 and 25-30 for 30.8% and 38.5% respectively. Thus, young women seem to have a higher inclination towards makeup and social media representation. A similar observation is noticed that young women of these age groups tend to post idolised images on social media (Fardouly and Rapee, 2019). However, a rising craze about natural no-makeup posts is noticed among these age groups.
Q3. What social media platform do you use?
Figure 6.3: Use of social media
Among a total of 13 responses, Instagram witnesses as high as 46.2% for makeup and social media posts, while Facebook obtains only 23.1%. Number of likes in Instagram photos has a direct influence on young women’s perception of body image (Tiggemannet al. 2018).
Q4. How often do you use social media in a day?
Figure 6.4: Social media use in a day
The above figure represents that women spend an average of 2-4 hours on social media, as 30.8% responded to the same.
Q5. Are you aware that social media influencers use photoshops/filters?
Figure 6.5: Awareness of photoshops
This graphical representation exhibits that 61.5% of women are aware that social media influencers use filters/photoshops in social media posts, while only 7.7% of respondents do not know the same. Shein (2021) reported that almost 600,000 influencers having 1.2 million social media accounts use filters to enhance their beauty. Likewise, followers naturally become aware of the same.
Q6. Can you tell if someone has done cosmetic surgery/fillers?
Figure 6.6: Cosmetic filters
It shows that women using social media are well-aware of this fact of cosmetic filters used by people and social influencers, as 69.2% responded that they can tell if someone has filters or done cosmetic surgery. Thus, use of cosmetic filters and surgeries is high rampant in today’s beauty-conscious world.
Q7. Are you aware that you can apply filters to live videos and stories on social media platforms?
Figure 6.7: Awareness of using filters
Responses show that 53.8% of participants know that they can apply filters to live videos, which indicates high use of photoshops and filters in social media platforms. Contrarily, a considerable percentage does not know concerning respective filters.
Q8. Do you use filters or edit your photos before uploading your selfies to social media?
Figure 6.8: Use of filters in selfies
A mixed response is observed with a moderate prevalence of using filters in selfies with respect to 61.5% using and only 15.4% using filters occasionally. A similar perspective shows that photo editing in selfies is often linked to women’s perceived self-esteem (Chen et al. 2019). It also emphasised that photoshops or using filters of Instagram, Snapchat, and others seem to have higher self-esteem ratings than others.
Q9. Do you upload more filter selfies or unfiltered?
Figure 6.9: High prevalence of filtered selfies
A clear glimpse is noticed, as 76.9% of respondents are of opinion that they prefer filtered selfies over unfiltered ones. In today’s social media-saturated world, younger individuals prefer to filter, edit selfies before posting selfies. Thus, a resemblance is observed in use of filtered selfies in social media.
Q10. Do you think there is pressure from social media to look a certain way?
Figure 6.2.10: Pressure of social media for idolised looks
A positive response is observed in this survey question, as respondents are of moderate and b opinions that social media pressure is there to look in a certain way with 53.8% and 46.2% respectively. Often young women perceive a long-standing pressure to look a certain way, which can be accepted by mass (Easton et al. 2018). Hence, it is indeed that social media pressure, though being unrealistic, stimulates young women’s use of filters and editing in social media.
Q11. Do you think it is fair that beauty brands use filters and photoshop to promote their beauty products?
Figure 6.11: Perceptions of beauty brands’ use of filters
92.3% participants are of opinion that it is unfair that beauty brands use filters to promote their products, which often sets high beauty standards. In a way, it is the fundamental reason to drive social media pressure to look in a certain way. Baker (2018) argued that if their promoted beauty products were so good, they would not need to use filters. Hence, it is indeed wrong for beauty brands to use filters while promoting products.
Q12. Do you feel that in these 10 years the beauty standards have changed a lot because of social media platforms?
Figure 6.12: Changed beauty standards
Respondents have agreed bly and moderately for 46.2% and 53.8% respectively. Thus, it is undeniable that over years, use of social media has altered beauty standards to unrealistic states, which are reinforced with features of photoshops, editing, filtering, and others.
From this above study, it can be concluded that social media has changed the very beauty standards among young women, as filters, photoshops, and editing have derived unrealistic expectations on digital platforms. Furthermore, use of extensive filters and photoshops is also linked with women’s perceived self-esteem, body image, and self-dissatisfaction. This study has further explored women aged 18-30 often feel peer pressure to edit selfies before posting them on social media platforms, which indicates acceptance of only unrealistic beauty by the mass. Besides, it is further exaggerated due to beauty brands’ use of filtered images and personifications while promoting their goods and services.
As a group, I have performed research to conduct this study of social representation of makeup and beauty. Throughout this task, I have found it easy to deduce a profound conclusion, as most supportive arguments are inclined towards unrealistic representations of beauty on social media. Use of photoshops, Instagram filters, and others have been objectifying women while challenging conventional beauty (Vendemiaet al. 2021). Our work went well considering similar perspectives concerning social representations of makeup and beauty among women, and thus, we successfully emphasised in-depth research. Nevertheless, certain recommendations are briefed in this section to improve our study further.
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