Summer superficiality: why you don’t need to “glow up” this summer

Ella Williamson, Staff Writer

Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes a wave of yearly superficiality.  From YouTube videos to magazine articles, from vlogs to blogs, summer glow-up culture is trickling back into our lives. Time to get back to spray tans, ab workouts, fad diets, nail appointments, and overspending on Target beauty products as a form of “self-care,” right? Wrong. It’s 2021, and you don’t need to “glow up” for summer.

First of all, what exactly is a glow-up? Technically, a glow-up can be an act of bettering yourself in any way. However, one quick click of the search bar tells us what most of us think of as of a glow-up: a physical transformation into a more conventionally attractive version of yourself. Really, glowing up is nothing more than a superficial beauty regime created by the beauty industry as a way to sell more products. 

Similarly, social media is always promoting unrealistic standards. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good hair transformation or a Chloe Ting workout. However, one of the biggest problems with summer glow-up culture on social media is that it promotes a very specific body type: toned, tanned, clear-skinned, and skinny. Not only are these standards often euro-centric, but they give people the idea that if their body doesn’t look like it belongs on the cover of a fitness magazine, it isn’t good enough. This is simply not true. Every body is uniquely different, and most beauty standards are completely unrealistic. You don’t need to get a bikini body this summer; you already have one.

Changing your appearance can be fun and can give you a newfound sense of confidence, but if the only reason you want to glow up is to look better for others, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Glow up culture should be about becoming a better you, not conforming to shallow standards. Rather than hyper-fixating on your appearance this summer, spend more time and energy focusing on your mental health and physical well-being, and doing things that make you happy.