Social media has become a platform in which people are able to internalize how ‘ideal’ and ‘unideal’ beauty should look. Previous studies have indicated that the media (including social media) contributed to body dissatisfaction, due to the homogenous representation of what is perceived as ‘ideal’. Consequently, people are becoming more aware of how they look and becoming more careful in presenting themselves online. To fit into the beauty ‘ideal’, some people often take different measurements. For instance, they are dressing up to look different, dieting, exercising, as well as undergoing cosmetic procedures. In the past few years, the number of cosmetic procedures industry in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) has been growing. Previous studies regarding the representation of cosmetic procedures have been done in Western countries. However, it has not been done in Indonesia. Thus, this thesis wishes to address the question of how Indonesian beauty clinics represent cosmetic procedures through Instagram. To answer this research question, 160 Instagram posts from four different Indonesian beauty clinics were analyzed using thematic analysis. The Instagram posts used for the research only contained pictures and captions. The Indonesian beauty clinics used in this research are the representation of both surgical and non-surgical providers. This was done to get a full representation of cosmetic procedure providers in Indonesia. In total, 46 codes were found, and three overarching themes were found to be related to the research question, namely (1) beauty according to Indonesian beauty clinics, (2) problems and solutions, and (3) marketing techniques used to promote cosmetic procedures. The findings of this research were aligned with the previous studies. The Indonesian beauty clinics firstly identified the type of the body/face that is ‘ideal’ and ‘unideal’. The ‘ideal’ beauty according to the Indonesian beauty clinics is a body/face that does not deteriorate, fat-free, tight and perfectly shaped buttocks and breasts, as well as similar facial features to Caucasians. On the other hand, the ‘unideal’ body/face identified by the Indonesian beauty clinics are the natural facts of life, such as common Indonesian facial features (e.g., low nasal bridge, squared jaw, etc.), dark skin, changes of the body caused by ageing, and so on. Furthermore, the Indonesian beauty clinics identify imperfect/’unideal’ body as a ‘problem’ which needs to be solved. In order to solve this problem, the beauty clinics offer cosmetic procedures as ‘solution’ to the problems. Another way to promote the cosmetic procedures, Indonesian beauty clinics use promotion offers, such as a discount, buy one get one free, free gift, free treatment/consultation voucher, as well as package bundling. However, Indonesian beauty clinics, most of the time, give terms and condition such as time limitation to the promotions to push the viewers/consumers to book the cosmetic procedures/consultation as soon as possible. Despite the time-limited offers, the Indonesian beauty clinics still do similar promotion offers monthly.

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Hermans, A. M.
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Gysella Wismanahadi, Gysella. (2020, September 28). The Pursuit of Beauty: The Perception of Cosmetic Procedures on Instagram in Indonesia. Media & Business. Retrieved from