Sierra Morin

Research Project

Unraveling the Effects of Beauty Perceptions on Social Media


I am a fourth year ProCom student at Toronto Metropolitan University with a passion for writing and PR. I enjoy studying communication and understanding how different strategies can be used to drive positive change. My journey in communication has equipped me with versatile skills in research, storytelling, and strategic planning, and as a soon to be graduate I’m very excited to step out into the world and put these skills to practice. I have a particular interest in how language and communication can be used to raise awareness and create educational opportunities, and so I am currently looking for professional opportunities that fall in this path.

Research Summary

This research endeavors to delve into the intricate relationship between social media algorithms, self-esteem, and the evolving concept of beauty. With a specific focus on their collective impact on body image perception and the potential development of body dysmorphia / body dissatisfaction, we have analyzed how various factors on TikTok contribute to overall sentiments of beauty perceptions. In acknowledging social media’s transformative power in shaping beauty standards, this study seeks to expand the understanding of relationships between multimodal content features and the reactions of TikTok users. Our research adopts two main modes of analysis, applying multimodal and text analysis methods on the following areas of interest: trends, editing / photoshop, representation, and algorithms. In dissecting key elements and recurring patterns across our sample demographic of young women, we examined how across content, sentiments of comparison emerge with positive feedback for the creator, and negative emotions on behalf of the user. Overall, our research revealed how TikToks social / multimodal features create an environment where young women are susceptible to negative comparison and consumerism. This research is driven by a commitment to understanding how TikTok shapes users’ interactions with social media, influencing not only their perceptions of beauty but also contributing to the broader discourse on mental health and well-being.

Research Poster

Lightning Talk

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