Fiona’s Blog: Facebook Destroys the Real Girl

By | September 13th, 2010 | 45 comments

Last May, Lilly blogged about how Facebook enables girls to publicize their friendships through uploading pictures. However, posting pictures does more damage than just publicizing the friendship. It idealizes the girls.

Facebook allows everyone to create a fake, contrived profile, where each person is mostly able to manage the information they share and the persona they create. Although this control has its benefits, it also allows and encourages teenage girls to shed all their real girl qualities in favor of the perfect girl they can create online.

Before I continue, I should say that I have a Facebook account and am (like the rest of us) mildly addicted. Facebook is exciting and helpful in many ways, but also very dangerous. Many of us are aware of the immediate and physical dangers of posting personal information online (especially to a site that has recently had so many privacy scandals), but we tend to overlook the more lasting, psychological damage.

As digital cameras become the norm, and photo editing programs become more and more popular, girls now have the opportunity to both publicize and alter their appearances. We can remove blemishes, enhance colors, and control the lighting and sharpness of our own faces. Now, every girl can be one step closer to the model they see in Seventeen or CosmoGirl. “OMG Yay!” we all thought at first.

Overly edited pictures of girls have become prevalent on Facebook, thus raising the bar for the supposed “beauty standard” these pictures are supposed to reflect. The actual act of picture taking has also become incredibly contrived, since every shot has become a glamour shot. Girls have perfected their poses and editing techniques to such an extent, that browsing through a single girl’s photos reveals essentially the same picture taken three-hundred times. In addition to perfecting oneself, this trend sometimes leads girls to sabotage their friends (read: frenemies) by leaving their faces unedited and even deleting or cropping them out of group photos.

In short, Facebook has become another stylized advertisement featuring objectified images of fake women. The worst part is that we made it this way! There’s no glossy magazine editor or fashion designer to blame for this one, because we did it ourselves. With the rise in idealized photos, the entire focus of Facebook has shifted. Girls now browse through hundreds of profiles doing what is commonly known as “Facebook stalking.”  This activity makes it almost impossible not to compare oneself to other girls. Is it any surprise that a recent study showed that Facebook is most utilized by those who have been determined to be insecure and narcissistic? We’ve created a cycle of insecurity and self-perfection that fosters an unrealistic standard of beauty and another source of resentment and jealousy between teenage girls.

As a teenage girl, it’s incredibly hard to avoid the Facebook craze and almost equally hard to participate without succumbing to the trend of perfected photographs. I think we all need to take a step back (me included) and reflect. Maybe we need to girlcott our own practices on the site. After all, Facebook says its mission is to give people the power to share, but what exactly are we sharing if not ourselves?


45 Responses to “Fiona’s Blog: Facebook Destroys the Real Girl”

  • Osos_Jorge18317 says:

    Wow! This is so true. I think the insecurity of all the people is getting bigger, at a point that girls and some boys every where has to make themselves perfect but also make others ugly.
    The porpuse of Facebook is not this, in my opinion, Facebook was created to get to know other people and socialize, but we our wish to be perfect is too strong that we have to resort to this.

  • carmelita#18169 says:

    I;ve never thought about this. And it is so true. Lots of girls on their photos doesn’t look like them, they look like other person, even pretty girls edit their photos. I think this is because all the publicity people do about the models and if you are pretty you will be happy, this is so wrong, and sadly teenage girls believe that and doesn’t show the real girl that’s inside them. Doing that they will never be happy not showing who really are they.

  • Carmelita#18286 says:

    Facebook is the biggest social network today. I think they’re even making a movie about it…It’s called “The social Network” and its about the crazy true story about the creation of facebook. I think the purpose of facebook is to be in contact with your friends and families, but that people (specially teenagers), had turn it into something else. I hate when girls edit they pictures and end up looking like a totally different person, and the competition about who has more friends is totally ridiculous

  • osos-Irma 18251 says:

    Interesting article, however it’s up to everyone to give Facebook the importance it deserves. I think than more than looking perfect or editing or cropping someone’s pictures the real danger lies in the information we got on the web, personal information that in some cases could be used for negative purposes. In my opinion we always need to be aware what to load on the web and whom our group of friends are, but the most important: we need to have on mind that much of the information we put on facebook is visible not only for our reliable group of friends but for other groups in which we may be vulnerable and suffer some form of harassment or even jeopardize our integrity.

  • carmelita#18157 Carmelita Marquez says:

    Facebook has nothing to do with this problem because it’s is just a way to communicate to others. This network it’s not telling you to dress this way or be this skinny, Teenagers may use it to appear to be someone they are not because of the outside world, magazines, TV, the media in general, that is making use believe we are wrong the way we are that we should change just to fit in society, to be popular or pretty. We should stop these by making the people in the media realistic; convince them to show the average girls instead of promoting this model, supper skinny and perfect look.

  • Carmelita#17934 says:

    wow, its so true, maybe not in all cases, but it is really true. And although is more frequent in girls, boys can have that too, dont they? But yeah its more common in girls, because they tend to preocupate more about their aspect, and I started laughing like nuts, when I read the stuff of poses and the same photo 3,000 times, because its true, and I always tell my girl-friends not to do that, or why do they do that? I remember a photo I took of my girlfriends, where everyone had the same pose! it was amazing. My boy friends are like whatever (like me) but all girls had, if not the same, really similar…
    And yes its everytime more common to found edited photos, and people commenting: “aww, you look so beautiful” instead of saying the truth: “wow you are really good at editing photos…”
    I dont want to sound pesimist, but boys, really do prefer a real girl than a “creative” one ;)

  • Osos-Alex18117 says:

    In the present time, Facebook has become the most popular social network. With this in mind, we can see that lots of people have made, minimum, an account.
    Facebook can have its pros, but it also has a lot of cons.
    The problem here is that the society is affecting some people who let this happen.
    I’m not surprised of how girls try to look perfect, seeing the society’s situation nowadays. What amazes me is that how they try to do it, even fake a photo of themselves.
    They don’t need to care about what others say about them. Don’t try to be another person.
    Facebook is good because you can see other people, and even meet other people, but be yourself, because being another person isn’t right for anyone.

  • Osos-Alexander-18331 says:

    Pretty interesting post, well we all know facebook it is an addiction problem, but we still feed the problem, and introduce more people to it, as I understand it all the girls that do that, its because other problem “stalking”, they know people it it going to see theri photos so they want to look perfect, and if some girls start doing that it is like a promotion to others, because it is like a competition, i can not add myself to this (girl) problem, but I am one of the millions FB users, and maybe in that I am also participing to increase this dilema, the stream of posibilties that can be done, the power of be in contact with thousands of people at this facility is seducing a lot of people, but the only solution I can find, it is not prohibit teenagers to use this, because if you do that you induce them to do it, and you get in a bigger problem, school and parents should teach teens to use all this cyberworld safely, free but safe, in a way that we do not feel ir like a colding or a punishment, or worst something boring, they should find the way to learn it funly without pressure, and that way all persons will be happy (well kind of, in this perspective i mean).

  • Carmelita#18527 says:

    Well i think that all that says the blog is true, but in some cases only, like those who stay at home all day all days, because they don’t know themselves, so they start thinking who they think are supposed to be or how their supposed to look. But facebook is also a way to stay in contact with familiars that live in other places or just to meet new people and in sometimes you can make true friends, but starting your relationship with them on facebook or any social network, so i think that facebook is not that bad.

  • osos-karen18311 says:

    Great article but in my opinion not every single teenager is in the same page. Facebook is a great place to communicate and its the most popular site in the web. When you’re a teenager all you want is to be looked at and with all this new technology the girls think the now can be whoever they want or look as pretty as they want, well I accept I love Facebook its really fun, all my friends are there but honestly Im not that type of girls who are “Facebook stalking” I do love to take a lot of pictures but its a way to remember the fun moments not just because I feel the need to feel like a model. Its all about how you use the technology, and what the person is really looking for, not the media or the sites.

    • Fiona Lowenstein says:

      I completely agree that facebook is in many ways what you make of it. I also think it’s possible to take tons of pictures to remember fun times. In fact, I wish more of us did this. While this was probably the initial purpose of posting photos on facebook, I think many of us girls have come to view it as an opportunity to change their appearance.

  • Carmelita#18016 serg says:

    uuuu yes, the facebook addiction, i must say first that i thank god i started using it after 9th grade or i would actually be addicted to it (you shall always be on my memory myspace). I think that is not really the site that makes you be like that but yourself, when an insecure person can see the opportunity to do something to feel slightly popular by seen more than 7 notifications on the left side of the computer, well my only thought is that he/she is going to spend some time changing his/her face or image for a while (not saying that i’ve never edited photos, but i’ve never touched my face on them….ok maybe on or twice :P, but it was for comical purposes ). So in conclusion, i think that facebook was not made for this purpose, is ok to use facebook just don’t let facebook use you.

  • osos-Mario17863 says:

    I have acknowledged the problems one may develope by letting themselves be “suggested” by various types of these “social” websites.
    In this day and age the new generations are bombarded by a constant and rather efficient stream of ideas and personal view points all of which have quickened the pace in which people (especially teens) live their lives.
    Still the fact of the matter is:
    The problem remains inside those who use these sites. The digital era only brings out the issue. (Most of which are caused by incompetent parenting in my opinion. -No offense-)
    I can also add myself to the hundreds and thousands of FB users since two months ago. I have been able to stay in contact with my friends on the other side of the world (Something I was previously unable to do.) And it has been entertaining for the most part.

  • Osos-18015Jessica says:

    Well, I don’t think that Facebook is bad at all, because it is an excellent way to talk to old friends and family, the problem comes when we dont accept ourselves and try to be someone that we are not. I find it stupid to edit all of our pictures to make us “prettier” because that is not going to make us popular or anything like that. We really need to love ourselves and like the way we are, all of us are special in our own way and we should not care about what other people think about us, we are humans and everybody makes mistakes.

  • Carmelita#18745 says:

    Facebook is one of the greatest social network in internet but there many others I thinks this is really big problem but it will be really hard to do something with the matter beacuse the problem is if we cut out facebook there would be other kind of social network that would enter in his place also well we can see that the people that are in facebook or in our facebook we will know that would be easier so we don’t have a different perspectiv of what we might think of the person, and this will be a great chance for people to be more honest with there self.

  • Well to say the truth I was onced very into the facebook thing but I stoped liking it, for the things mensioned above, I think it has become not a thing to make friends but to feal better than them, for dumb things, like photoshopped photos, and also people care more about posting what they will do, than actually doing it. I think people now use facebook to shred their so called “friends” to feel better, but again that causes a cycle in wich you shred ur friend to feel better then he/she does the same. And So I conclude by saying that now I almost dont use facebook, just to play from time to time or ask for homeworks, but I guess I really should delete and I would support anyone who does it.

  • Carmelita#18018 says:

    I think facebook is the biggest socialnetwork today. Every one has an account, every girl, every boy, even our families entered the obssesive world of facebook. When we talk about this kind of popularity, we also talk about problems because it becomes a competition between the members. A competition about who has more friends, comments, or pictures. Everything is being analized by other people, whatever you say, whatever you do or who you hang out with can be judged by other people. And to shield yourself you start creating this perfect image, this fake personality that allows you a position on this socialnetwork. You say things that you wouldn’t say in real life, you upload pictures that are edited and photoshoped so your so call ‘friends’ approve. I think this is a big mistake because everyone has their own essence, we should be grateful for our differences because their the ones that make us unique. And finally the most important point i’d like to remark on this, people will love you just the way you are, there is no need to pretend.

  • carmelita#17718 says:

    facebook has become the new way to make friends. and it is a good thing because we are socializing but when the computer and photo editing programs are the ones making the friends for us it becomes a bad thing. We have to learn to love ourselves. BEcause if you are trapped in a fake image it will mean that the people who talked on met you by facebook want the virtual you not the real one. This article makes me remeber a movie calle surrogates, it is set in the future were a company created a set of robot with human appearances to protect the people from illnesses, or help the ones that have physical disability. they were designed in a way that the human woul control the robot from his or her house and it would make the rtasks that human orders it to do. The people will be experiencing everything as if rthey were there instead of the robots. but what resembles to this article is that there, the normal people also used them creating the robots like the person they always wanted to be, for example: if you were fat and blonde, you could design yourself as a hot brunette and no one would know about it.
    Im afraid for this because as far as we are going we will be willing to change even our humanity to look like the “perfect girl”. WE have to r4ealize what is really happening to us and how a social network is destroying our lives. Im not saying that facebook is a bad thing, what i am saying is that we have to love ourselves the way we are and if we don like something, try to change it by “natural ways” and not by editing all of our photos because the person who is placed in that image is as false as all the friends (the ones who met him or her by facebook) she or he has.

  • Carmelita#18121 says:

    Facebook. What can I say? Well facebook has become one of the most important ways to communicate or simply keep in contact with people, but there is this tiny thing that totally changes the uses of this social network and this is the STANDARD OF SOCIETY.

    We have gone way to far too become that “perfect” girl that the outside world has shown to us but where have we lost ourselves. I really think that everyone is beautiful and most of it we are beautiful if we really think we are.

    Totally it is wrong that we think that if you’re not that skinny model you won’t fit in what we call society. As I know the sexiest woman that has ever existed is Marylin Monroe and she wasn’t exactly a size 0. SHE WAS A 12! Can we see that difference?

    Starting with the security, feeling secure of who we are. We have to love ourselves just the way we are. We’re are total human beings and we make mistakes. Tall, with freckles, skinny, fat, short, blondes or brunnettes. That is the person who we really are and that is the person that makes us SPECIAL and UNIQUE.

    Facebook isn’t the reason of becoming that insecure person we are the ones that use facebook as a bad thing.

    • Renee says:

      Marilyn wasn’t a size twelve while her form was more voluptuous that the current ideal she still wasn’t a twelve during most of her career she was an 8 and during her plumper days a 10.

  • Carmelita#18269 Aime says:

    Facebook is our new way to comunicate, our new way to show who we are in front of people. We are in the process of evolution and our ways of comunicating change. The problem is that the standars of the society also change, and as human beings is natural on us to look for the acceptance of the society. But this affects us when we think that we aren´t enough to be accepted the way we are, and this happens when he have been said that we are ugly or when they only tell us bad things, instead of our good things. I think our main problem is on how families educate tehir children, if children were educated in security they wouldnt have the need of making fun of others for them to feel secure, or to be looking for the acceptance of others. Facebook is just the way we realize of the problem, but this kind of things have been always in our society, but now more with our need of perfection thanks to the influence of magazines and mega skinny models. We just need to accpet ourselves just the way we are, with our good and our bad parts, because thats what makes who we reallly are.

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