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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

It is likely an objective statement that every TikTok user has been unwillingly met with harmful trends that have potentially impacted their self-worth at some point in time. What I eat in a day, jawline, and side profile checking trends have created a platform that promotes a specific body and beauty standard. TikTok does everything in its power to dissect and diminish everything that makes us, us. The 15-second videos that typically gain popularity feature a very specific type of person, consistently promoting unrealistic and Eurocentric beauty ideals. The trends and algorithms can be extremely damaging to those who do not conform to those standards. 

As young adults, witnessing creators our age, or younger who fit the societal standard of beauty can take a severe toll on one’s mental health. Witnessing individuals as ordinary as ourselves, who we may have even known in person at some point in time, gain popularity for their appearance is such a confusing feeling. The internal conflict, knowing you and that influencer were as ordinary as one another, but you never really were, because they were born with a head start. As harmful as it can be for us as well-established and mature individuals, TikTok users are oftentimes also children and teenagers, who can arguably take their “imperfections” to heart more than the average young adult. The idea of witnessing society’s idea of a perfect person through a phone is not entirely unheard of, after all, isn’t perfection a requirement in Hollywood? 

As a Gen Z woman of color, growing up and witnessing perfection in television, music videos, and award shows had its flaws, and definitely created specific hangups. However, even as an almost 20-year-old university student, TikTok has impacted me significantly more in a shorter amount of time. An app in which anyone can post a video and immediately gain a following, and days later be flown out on a brand trip to Turks & Caicos while being granted the title of influencer alongside a blue checkmark. The sickening feeling that overcomes you, at the fact that the only factor preventing you from being on that trip is entirely out of your control. This is not meant to be a disheartening article, by no means is that my goal. I am simply expressing my experiences and feelings when I use TikTok because I can almost guarantee that whoever is reading this has fallen victim to the same pressures at some point.

With this in mind, it is important to do our part to break free from these standards of beauty, and accept that the world is a much more interesting place when everyone looks different. What a boring existence for us all to be identical. If you do not fit the specific standards of beauty, that simply means you are unique; someone else’s beauty does not take away from your own. On the note of ordinary people gaining a platform, the ability to do so definitely has its benefits. It humanizes the celebrities we idolize by allowing us to have an ounce of the power and privilege that they do. However, this comes with a great deal of responsibility. Ordinary young girls are not equipped with the tools necessary to have constant audiences dissecting their every move. It is crucial to acknowledge the privilege that comes with gaining a platform, regardless of the size. Overall, TikTok can be a useful platform in its ability to bring ordinary people closer together, allowing us to gain knowledge, relatability, and entertainment all at once. Nonetheless, it can also be extremely harmful to our mental health if we are not careful. It is impossible to stop the constant beauty standards being promoted on TikTok and in the world, we can only control what is in our control. With this in mind, we must allow ourselves to break free and unlearn the standards that have been embedded into our minds from fetal stages.

Yasmeen Mirza

McMaster '26

Yasmeen is a new part-time writer with Her Campus' McMaster chapter. Currently in her second year at McMaster University, she is majoring in Social Psychology, planning to pursue a career in law in the future! With a passion for women's rights and female empowerment, Yasmeen plans to tackle important, modern-day issues such as the negative impacts of all forms of social media. In her free time, you’ll find her attending concerts, listening to music, as well as performing! More often than not, music is somehow playing while she goes about her day. She has been fortunate enough to fall in love with travelling through first-hand experiences, and is a privilege that she hopes she is able to sustain throughout her life.