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The Antelope

The Antelope

Social media changes Gen Z perception of beauty standards

MICHELLE JOHNSON Before the presence of social media, Aeropostale and Justice were considered peak fashion.

Middle school was a rough time for all of us. Back then, I thought peak fashion was anything I could find at the store Justice. Looking back at the way I acted and dressed, I cringe to myself and wonder what I was thinking. Although I would’ve loved to have surpassed such an awkward and uncomfortable stage, it’s important to realize that middle school was simply character development, and as college students, we wouldn’t be who we are without that phase. 

Middle schoolers today don’t have to suffer through that awkward phase we all did. When I first realized this, it made me a little frustrated. Why are they the lucky ones? To me, they aren’t lucky; they’re missing out on a key stage of growing up.

What’s the cause of this? Social media. 

Any college student can attest that social media has played a huge role in our lives. We’re unique in that we grew up when social media wasn’t established yet; it was growing. As society progressed, we perceived the media’s standards of what is beautiful and worthy of attention.

Imagine experiencing this change as a fifth or sixth grader. Social media can create a toxic environment, even at our age. There’s no way for us to know how it feels to see the unreachable standards at such an impressionable age. 

As a child, I had to figure out my own fashion, and I was only influenced by the people around me and what I saw in stores. It allowed me to develop my own personality and individuality as I navigated through that transition. 

It could be that social media hides the awkwardness of middle school. Perhaps middle school students are still going through their awkward stage, but not in the same way we did. They are still experiencing puberty, social anxiety and extreme hormones. They are still experiencing the scary feelings of the transition from childhood to adulthood that we all struggled with. It’s important to remember that their transition is difficult and overwhelming regardless of the makeup and trendy clothes they wear. 

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