Social Media, Beauty and Power

Beauty is often defined as a subjective quality of objects which makes these objects appealing to the senses. These objects include beautiful sunsets, landscapes, beautiful humans and artistic works of art. Beauty, along with taste and art, is perhaps the most important area of aesthetics, however, one of the most important branches of applied psychology. A psychologist specializing in aesthetics uses aesthetic psychology to study why some things are attractive to us and others not. It is also used to help people figure out how they can use attractiveness as a motivational tool.


One of the areas aesthetics focuses on is defining what is beautiful. One may think of beautiful things as having an inner beauty that is unrivaled by anyone else, but others disagree. What is beautiful to one person may be ugly to another. The truth of the matter is that every single person has an inner beauty that is unique to him or her. The problem is trying to identify it when there are so many different forms and kinds of beauty.

Aesthetics scholars have even used the definition of beauty to try to define certain types of prejudice. For instance, those who hold racial prejudices against African-American, Asian, Latin, and other ethnic backgrounds all consider beauty to be separate from beauty. This idea is contrary to social media, which portrays beautiful people from all over the world in a variety of different body types. People who subscribe to such a point of view cannot possibly see beauty as something that is exclusive to a certain body type. However, social media helps people understand that beauty comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

Some social media users may see beauty in a totally different way. They use the Internet, television, and magazines to build up their own personal catalogs of beautiful people. Many individuals post pictures of themselves on social media websites with the hopes of inspiring others to become more beautiful. Others participate in online forum discussions and ask for advice about how to look beautiful. Others engage in photo shoots and participate in photo contests all over the Internet. And still others may even hire a professional model to promote themselves on social media sites.

But there is another school of thought that sees beauty as a product that can be bought and sold like any other product or service. Those who believe in this point of view believe that powerful people buy beautiful people just to serve their own personal purposes. Fashion power brokers may buy models that they admire to use as a way of promoting their business. Human resource departments may choose to employ models who are more beautiful than average in order to attract and entice the attention of personnel who are important to them. Beauty is not necessarily a goal for these power brokers, but rather a means to an end.

It seems that some things are more important than beauty to some. While it would be exciting to think that someone could equate beauty with power and influence, the belief that power and influence comes from being physically attractive seems to conflict with everything else we know about what beauty really is. Could the perception of beauty that so many have come to identify with be the result of social media saturation or a simple case of marketing? It’s too soon to say, but one thing is for sure…some people will always see beauty differently than others.