Ctrl Alt Del - Beauty Standards

By Jemma Heathfield

I love Instagram. I love curating content, sharing photographs and connecting with people all over the world. Yes, I use editing apps such as VSCO and KUNI, exploring new filters and effects. I’m all for discovering new apps, but this one? It crosses the line.


It upsets and disappoints me that there are adverts, so easily accessible, that encourage people to edit themselves. Making their breasts larger; reducing the size of their nose; drawing in a six pack.

The backlash about retouching or as it is commonly known; ‘photoshoppin,’ photos, has been in the news for since the advent of social media and in particular Instagram, and with so much talk on body positivity at the moment, it baffles me how an advert like this has been amplified - and made in the first place!


It’s scary how much of an influence what we see online can have on our self-esteem. Everyone can be affected by ‘standards of beauty’, especially young people who are most vulnerable to accepting this unrealistic version of ‘beautiful.’.


I have struggled with my self-esteem in the past year; I have been unhappy with my appearance, weight and have a daily battle with my mental wellbeing / health. So, you could say I’m vulnerable to this type of advert too. Thankfully, my instant reaction was, ‘how on earth has this advert been published?!’ and not an instant desire to download and edit photographs of myself.


Taking part in Cosmopolitan’s Self-Made Summit event last month, the whole weekend demonstrated strong themes of empowerment, self-belief and self-confidence. It proved that to be happy, you didn’t have to look a certain way, act a certain way or be a certain way. It was brilliant to be part of such a forward thinking and inspiring event.


“Plus size supermodel”, Tess Holliday was one of the many influential speakers over the weekend, and she spoke of her personal struggles when trying to make a name for herself in the modelling industry. She shared how she struggled with her self-confidence; she was trying her hardest to be herself and have confidence, but the model industry continually knocking her down time and time again.


Journalist Bryony Gordon ran the London Marathon 2018 with friend and model Jada Sezer in their underwear to show that there is not just one way to look. They ran to raise money for Heads Together, a mental health campaign set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry with the goal of ending the stigma around mental health. They did it to prove that you don’t have to be an athlete to run a marathon; to prove that a runner’s body comes in all shapes and sizes; to prove that exercise is for everyone, small, big, tall, short, size 8, size 18.


I hope that when I have children of my own, these kind of apps will not exist.


This is the start of a bigger conversation which we will be commenting talking more about in the very near future.

Instagram is now shoppable… is this a dream come true?

An avid fan of Instagram, I follow countless of influencers and brands which all too often tempt me to make a purchase.

I like to consider myself a pretty good detective when it comes to finding something online; my friends won’t have even mentioned a guy they're speaking to’s surname and in minutes I’ve found out what he studied, his favorite football team and where he went on holiday in 2015.

The same goes with clothes I see on Instagram; I scour the internet in hopes to find that polka dot dress, those *I can’t live without pink trainers*, and 9 times out of 10, I’d say I am successful.

But even with shop links in a page bio, products can be tricky to pin down; I often get overwhelmed with all the products and forget what I originally wanted to look for.

Shopping on Instagram made even easier

With Shopping on Instagram launching in the UK, they have created the ultimate seamless online shopping experience. Users can now explore popular and most loved products all by one simple tap on a post.

When a user taps a tag on a product in a post, they'll see a description of the product, the price, which acts as a link that takes them directly to the brand’s website, where they can then purchase the product. As simple as tagging a friend, brands can tag up to five products per image, and up to 20 on a carousel post.

This will make (my) life so much easier.

‘Shopping on Instagram accomplishes one of the most critical tasks in improving ecommerce performance: it makes it easier to buy. With one click, our audience can go directly to the product page and add to their basket. Reducing search time and clicks improves conversion and revenue. When we launched the feature, we experienced a 25% increase in traffic and an 8% increase in revenue attributable to shopping on Instagram.’


How will this benefit your business?

Now more than ever, Instagram is giving businesses an immersive storefront. Tagging individual products on a post, just like someone tagging a person in a photo, will be extremely beneficial for brands, small and large.

Combining with beautifully shot photographs and a considered theme, this new feature will increase engagement and traffic to your website in no time.

How to set it up

  1. Create at least nine shopping posts on your Instagram business profile to activate the Shop tab for your audience

  2. Tag multiple products to help your audience explore and browse

  3. Use Stories to show your audience that they can now shop your posts

  4. Leverage different shopping formats – tag a single image or a carousel

  5. Make sure that each tag touches the correct product, so shoppers know which product the tag refers to

  6. You can't promote shopping posts at this time. The ability to tag products in posts is only available in organic posts right now.

‘Our traffic from Instagram has increased by 44% since implementing shopping on Instagram. It’s a clean and simple way to show your product in a lifestyle setting, without affecting the user experience.’

Information about Shopping Instagram and two quotes: Instagram

By Jemma