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The Impact of AI on Beauty Standards (Op-Ed)

In the last few decades, beauty standards have become extremely prevalent in the media, and throughout the world. This is largely credited to new technology, which has formed a worldwide, instant connection between people anywhere at any time. 

Snapchat, the picture-sharing social media app, was released in 2011. Through this app, face filters soon became very popular. Users began sporting looks including dog ears, flower crowns and rainbows, which quickly became an instant hit. 

Just prior in 2010, the release of Instagram also popularized the widespread use of filters. While filters on Instagram were known for changing the color schemes of photos, they did not necessarily edit the people in the pictures. However, this quickly changed with the recent onslaught of photo editing apps. 

Today, this pattern has developed even further through the use of artificial intelligence. Through AI, people can edit raw pictures of themselves to look completely different. One can take a photo of themselves with no makeup, and generate a precise and perfect makeup look in any style they choose. Through AI, users can also change their hair in a photo, whether that be to curl it, straighten it, or even completely change the color. 

AI has created a depiction of photos that look real, but are not. Since it is difficult to distinguish, this often leads to the creation of fake beauty standards in media. Through this photo editing ability, even seemingly ‘perfect’ people are now struggling with their self-esteem, as these standards are unreachable. However, it is no surprise these standards are unreachable, because they are not real. 

Beauty standards have always evolved with changing trends, but AI is now creating standards that are unattainable in the physical world. This is

particularly impactful for young men and women who are struggling to meet these unrealistic goals. This struggle can be detrimental in terms of self-esteem, mental health, and can add additional pressures. 

While AI can have many benefits, it has also created an alluring world of something fake and unobtainable. Sadly, many people have developed the sole desire to look like these false images.

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