The social media beauty cult | DW Documentary

Social media are influencing the way women feel about their own bodies. Young women in particular are constantly being confronted with pictures of beautiful female bodies online – images which have almost always been digitally enhanced.

This documentary take a long and alarming look at young women whose everyday lives are dictated by the search for bodily perfection. The more users click their way through Instagram, Facebook and so on, the greater their dissatisfaction with their own appearance becomes. Hardly anyone can escape the pull of this illusory world, where beauty, fitness and lifestyle count for everything. The consequences an even be fatal: slimming and fitness crazes, eating disorders of all kinds, body shaming and sexism. During her research, filmmaker Jennifer Rezny came across a Canadian study that found that young women’s insecurity has been increased by social media. It feels like almost everyone is trying to present themselves on Instagram in slick filter-processed selfies these days. Despite increasing calls for diversity, the “ideal” female body still dominates the media’s perception of female beauty. Numerous movements and initiatives – even on the part of the fashion and advertising industries themselves – have had little effect. “The female body has always been a carrier of female identity. It’s nothing new for us women to be objectified and sexualised,” says Rezny. “There has also been a great deal of social development, but we are still not where we should be and where we women want to be, in an equal society. And in any case, we live in a meritocratic society, one defined and colored by capitalism, which always has to be optimized and improved. It can never be enough.”

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илья винегрет

what is wrong if women look beautiful and healthy ?

Wow, i can not imagine a life where u have to weight how much bell pepper you will consume during the day.

antun nutna

Funny how they just speak about woman here. Like man have it easy. All male super models look like Hercules. Most pumped with stereoids. And now its becoming a norm. Today as a guy you are expected to have that swimmers body type. And that is just unrealistic for most. And much harder to obtain than to just be skinny. And even if you are just skinny as a dude than its about the same as beeing Fat. Never good inaf. So yeah covering just 1 side of the story aint gona fix shit.

antun nutna

going from Anorexic Instagram models to Obeese instagram models is the same shit but repackage. You just dont starve to death but instead die of a Hearth attack or something. Instead just be normal ditch those falls models and idols. They are all the same using you to get money.

I follow journalists, artists, directors, and pets on instagram. I never wanted to follow so-called social media influencers. As a person who works closely to advertising industry and agency, yeah. They are just ordinary people who just happened to have more number of followers on their social media. Embrace yourself. You are you as the person you are today. Just stay healthy and take care of your mental health. That is most important thing to do, especially amid this pandemic. 🙂

Ethose Center

I like both girls. The pretty Russian girl in the beginning with a Clean hair cut and the fit bikini girl. Both look great, don't have to make it your life but working out 4-5 times a week and focus on healthier eating is sexy and healthy. Either extreme is too much

Thu Tran

I have the opposite problem. I think I'm skinnier than I actually am.


How can we protect our daughters??? I grew up im the 90’s when social media wasn’t around.


Beauty industry destroys women natural beauty and then sell us products to “fix” it. Who says we have to cover our faces with make up to be beautiful? I see young teens with perfect skin covering it with so much make up that they look older.

Lilu Lials

I sometimes imagine explaining how starving will be a status symbol in the 21st century to medieval farmers .They’d be really confused

This happens to men too. Instagram is full of these muscle clad douchebags yet you don't see men crying about it.

So funny people who are against it still contribute to it.

It's like a smoker who tells other people not to smoke.

It's true a lot of dudes are misogynistic pigs.
But the documentary seems to be only pro women and anti men.
There are also a lot of nasty girls out there.
Also, one girl stuck in the endless fight for the beauty and approval on social media = a guy that will be alone all that time, lose the fight with loneliness inducted depression and possibly hang himself.
Women are expected to look 10/10, men are also expected to look 10/10, but then that's not all, men are also expected to be rich, to have amazing job, to not have feelings and be super manly.
It's not only the women that are ending up as victims there.
The documentary itself is a poison of the modern world.

Justine Moore

That rapper at the end spoke more sense in 5 minutes than I have heard all year. She was literally born with no fucks to give.

Lazzy Troops

Girl you don't need to change yourself…we love you the way you are💕💕

Irrational Charm

22:50 must be hard having a job where you take a few pictures for a few hours and get payed thousands.

Casian Ionescu

Man, u people have too much money and not enough worries. This is so outrages cuz it focuses on the stupid problems there are. But then again people have it so easy in germany its a joke comparing to (for example) the eastern block where u will not see studies with titles such as "Too beatiful?". The world needs to stop being a bunch of extremist snowflakes that will cry at the first disproval of a random person. These problems that these women have are ALL across the world, but u dont see it covered cuz nobody cares about the very small minority of 0.0001% of people that actually suffer from this. The girl Nicole looks good but she says her hair started falling etc. Its bullshit, i feel like u guys just look for the smallest problems and make it the size of Danube. Who tf cares about how u look? There is only one person that has to care about how u look and that is your partner, that is the only reason u listen to when it comes to body "positivity".

Im so done with this political correctness everywhere and now starting to make its way to my home as well. All u people do is basically beg for empathy for no reason, u do not have an issue. Stop taking the attention of people with these bullshits and report on real problems like the conflict in Moldova right now and russia, or an aftermath of the corona + the way forward etc. No, instead ur gonna throw me some kinda of 22 year old as if she is the representation of all young people, and theeen u also show me old people talking about the young people?? How does this make any sense whatsoever?

F*** social media. Women are beautiful creatures no matter what. Only the industry and machists benefit from saying otherwise. I see beauty in every woman and always have and absolutely love myself and I hope you love yourself too! 🙌 Enjoy life and screw that! Life is today and it has an expiry date so be kind and as happy as you can everyday 💪❤

Jihye Choi

0:35 Before looking at your phone, maybe take off your shoes first.

Guilherme Santos

Women choose and men obey. Old story always repeating…

i am glad I am still part of the last generation who did not grow up with phones but i was like in my teenage years when I got my phone and Instagram then popped up. but since I still got some sense for reality and stuff it is prob not that extreme as it is for younger ons who only focus on instagram. i also have friends in my age that are also like that. only living for instagram and their gal is to be an influencer and that stuff lmao I don't even have a picture in there anymore because I got so insecure and someone once told me I dont look like that

Devan Harris

It's a patriarchal construction. Women were not (and still are not) given the same opportunities as men. We are progressing in society, but still have a way to go. What else do you expect from a society that first identified women as a means for reproduction. Men are valued for their ability to provide resources and women are valued on their ability to be arm candy for said men. To fix it, we must continue fighting for the equality of women. As Cher once responded to her mother when her mother suggested she find a rich man, "mom, I am a rich man."

ingod idoubt

Social media continues to destroy people in many ways. Turn off the social media. It is just a wate of time.


I'm 25, and never ever felt attracted to Instagram, Snapchat etc. I've never even uploaded a profile pic to Facebook.
That doesn't make me smarter or better in any way, obviously. But it's always nice to see that I'm not missing out on much…

The emptiness, shallowness and the destructiveness of it all. This is horrible. This is when the Devil infiltrate the mind and take control. This is one means of destroying people’s mind, body and soul. Using social media to carry out his destruction. I could barely watch this. Self idolization #idolatry. This cannot be healthy mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Is this what’s most important in people’s lives? 🤦🏾‍♀️ Take care of yourself is one thing, obsession is something totally different. No wonder they are depressed and angry.

Loco Lobo

Nicole is way more beautiful not worrying and being obsessively skinny! I'd take you out and day, hit me up!

Mamta Hansda

strong is new beautiful…. being skinny will put you in trouble…

Randolph Pinkle

Wait. So, objectifying the female body, the misogynistic resentment, the jealousy. You mean that isn't part of the mythical and elusive patriarchy, but other women? No kidding! However, what women…and men need to do is remember that an image is not reality and that reality is not an image. It is SO much more than that. This should be part of a child's education.

Netch Tabashi

a woman should be attractive by her thoughts not just by her garments.

if u listen this documentry in punjabi ,u think someone is fighting!

John Bratten

These young women, they should dump the gym and go hang out at the senior center. Learn about what's really important. Who the f**% cares about how they look? I want to know how they ARE. What are they BEING for? To look like something? Everything changes. Be something that perseveres. Beauty always passes.


I am so glad I grew up in the era of dial-up, primitive DSL, and Geocities. Back before the cancer in the citizenry known as social media sprang into existence, metastasized, and spread.

I used Instagram for just one month, and honestly it was the worst time period for me. 🙁

drgdfh fdhfd

Women need to stop blaming men for everyhing for once, this nonse is all blown up by young girls themselves sitting with their phones on social media 90% of their awake time. If you are more interested in somebody else´s life all the time you are living your own wrong.

Mindy Jo

What a boring generation, I'm glad I have no kids. Go for a walk in the park, that will give you some perspective.

Truth be told, i myself appreciate human beauty. To me, it's like art. That's why i don't agree with the beauty standards our society is pushing us these days.
For me, everyone has their own beauty. Just, most don't realize it which is sad.

fareeha xoxo

I don't blame social media. Social media just helped to already existing ideas. But now it also became hope for body positivity

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