What are beauty standards in England

Even bigger than the misconception that everything was better in the past is probably just that tomorrow everything will be better by itself. In 2017, the Malisa Foundation of actress Maria Furtwängler and her daughter Lisa published a study that looked at the portrayal of gender roles in German film and television. The results were devastating: men appear in leading roles more than twice as often as women. And if there are female protagonists, it is mostly in the context of relationships and partnerships.

At that time there was a lot of malice for the supposedly old, tired medium of television. On the Internet, with the young people who produce their own content, that's at least what one imagined, everything will be better there. Unfortunately, this notion does not correspond in the slightest to reality.

On Monday, the Malisa Foundation presented the results of three different studies that deal with female self-presentation in social media. The realization: As in TV and cinema, women are clearly underrepresented on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. With the 100 most popular YouTube channels and 100 most popular Instagram accounts in Germany, there are two men for every woman. Outdated gender roles are reproduced especially on YouTube. Women use formats that are considered stereotypically feminine: beauty, fashion, food, relationship tips. Compared to men, they address their own emotions more often, present their work more as a hobby than as a professional skill and are increasingly showing themselves on their channel in private - and thus not as adventurers in public.

That sounds like a quasi-democratic vote: People prefer to see men - and if women, then in classic roles. But it is not that easy. In one of the studies, Youtubers talk about the hurdles that make it difficult for them to break out of the beauty field and to tap into male-dominated genres such as comedy or politics. The audience expectations are narrow and expressed themselves in sometimes malicious comments as soon as women contradict the expectations, it is said in the responses.

The fact that old gender stereotypes work this way has to do with social structures that are reproduced in social media. The same, because of which there are fewer women in management positions. The power of these norms is shown, for example, by the study of female self-presentation on Instagram: When processing their pictures, girls (and boys too) orient themselves towards the beauty standards conveyed to them by influencers. Anyone who follows Heidi Klum on Instagram is almost twice as likely to whiten their own teeth in pictures. And 100 percent of the girls surveyed who follow Dagi Bee "optimize their skin".

Sobering conclusion from all this: There is no more progressive world on the Internet. Only in one point, when it comes to diversity, are social media further than the classic ones, according to studies: The proportion of people with a migration background is at least significantly higher on YouTube than in other media such as good old television.