Oh Instagram, how I hate you but love you so. You’re like the sister I never wanted or asked for, but for some strange reason, can’t quite live without. In the day-to-day life of anyone who owns a smartphone, checking our social media accounts is likely to take up a good fraction of our waking day, we want to see what our friends and family are up to, what the latest trending topics are and even what complete strangers are doing with their lives. It’s crazy to think how social media can connect us with people we will never cross paths with, allowing us a sneak peak into the lives of people half way around the world, or people who live just a stones through away. In terms of connecting people, than I guess that’s great, however, with the good, there’s also the plane ugly and social media has a vicious side that’s difficult to shake off.
This time of year, when everyone is setting them selves new goals for the year and trying to ‘better themselves’ social media plays a huge part in what we set as our #inspiration. We allow the people that we follow on Instagram & Twitter (I’d say Facebook, but who even uses Facebook now?) set unrealistic goals that effect are own lives and how we live them. I mean, I’m all for taking inspiration from other peoples good deeds and doing thinks like donating to charity or volunteering at a shelter, however, sometimes the people that we idolise online, aren’t who we really think they are.
The Damages of FaceTune – The Digital Cosmetic Surgery
My fave click-bait cosmo articles to read are the ‘Top 10 Celeb FaceTune Fails’ I’m a sucker for that hot hot tea. I know to some, it may just seem as though I like looking at peoples imperfections, however, that’s simply not the case. I think those type of articles and people exposing celebrities FaceTune fails are honestly what the world needs to see. I personally look at so many instagram accounts where the girls are so toned and so tanned and just look amazing in everything, and then there’s me, wearing baggy clothing to hide my little cheese pop belly, I like to keep it real, what can I say?
FaceTune sort of began as a tool makeup artists would use to smooth skin, make colour ‘pop’ that little bit more and just generally make their makeup looks more ‘instagram worthy’ and although I understand that you need to stand out and have your ‘insta game on fleek’ is this not false advertising 1) your makeup skills and 2) the final result of the products that you’re using? But, wait. Makeup skills and products are the last of our problems. Online influencers and celebrities are giving themselves digital cosmetic surgery and people are falling for it.
I don’t know what real skin looks like anymore. Makeup ppl on instagram, please stop with the smoothing (unless it’s me) just kidding (I’m torn) ok maybe just chill out a bit. People of social media just know: IT’S FACETUNE, you’re beautiful, don’t compare yourself to people ok— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) February 12, 2018
Whenever I’m on social media, I say articles doing their rounds all about ‘Top 5 celeb Facetune fails’ and the nosey parker in me, always clicks on those articles, simply because it’s good to remind yourself that even the people that are in the magazines, modify their body on a smartphone app. I find it so damaging that people with a huge influence on young minds and bodies, modify how they look and post it on social media for all of those people to see and compare. Obviously, we all blur out a spot or a blemish here and there, however, when it comes to the Kardashians editing their bodies so their waists are smaller and the bums are bigger, that’s where I draw the line multiple times, in red marker, of course.
This is where I have a little debate with myself because half of me thinks these celebrities are damaging beauty and fitness standards and making us strive for a goal that just isn’t reachable, and the other part of me wonders whether it’s down to the magazines, who airbrush and pin and tuck these celebrities to look a certain way and are the celebrities feeling the pressure of all of this and modifying how they look in order to keep up this what the media ‘wants’ them to look like?
We’re Only Sharing What’s ‘Worth’ Sharing
Other than social media and the internet pushing beauty expectations into our feeds, lifestyle expectations are also being forced upon us, most of the time, without is even realising. Personally, I love watching vlogs on Youtube, simply because I’m really nosey and love seeing how other people live their lives. However, with this a lot of comparison and guilt is forced into my mind and I begin to question my own life and whether I’m not where social media depicts that I should be.
I’m all for the idea of not waving your dirty laundry out in public, no-one particularly wants to know about what you and your boyfriend are arguing over or your deepest, darkest, secrets. However, a lot of social media only showcases the moments of our lives that are all smiles and running through pumpkin patches because we’re so excited for life and omg there’s a pumpkin, that’s so instagram *subtle eye role* (I do love Autumn though and I literally am that person) My point is, most days that I exist, are usually bad days, a lot of the time, I come home from work, tired, stressed and wanting to eat my body weight in custard creams and them BOOM, you’re looking at everyone’s instagram posts and stories and they’ve all had a great day, they’ve been shopping, they’re happy, smiling and surrounded by friends, just like every other day of their lives, and you’re sat at home, struggling to pay your bills, working 9 hour days and rationing your conditioner usage to save some pennies. – I don’t see anyone posting that on instagram now?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sharing amazing moments in life, we want to remember those moments and that’s essentially why we post them, so we have a digital footprint of that amazing day. However, this expectation that we can only share good things on social media can truly be damaging.
Likes & Followers Do Not Equal Our Self Worth
As though the pressure of trying to make yourself look like everyone you see on social media, there’s also the pressure of how many likes or followers you have. To me, likes and followers are irrelevant, If I like a photo then I’m going to post it and if it only gets 30 likes, then I don’t really care. However, there is apart of me that does over analyse things like this. There’s apart of my mind that begins to wonder why the photo hasn’t been liked; Do I look ugly? Does everyone hate me? Am I losing my edge? 9 times out of ten, it’s that God damn algorithm and how you look or what people think is completely besides the point. In a world where people constantly seek validation from social media (me included) sometimes it’s difficult to be able to mentally take a step back from it all and realise that if Instagram was to vanish from the face of the earth, it wouldn’t really make that much difference to our everyday lives, it would most probably improve it.
From the beginning of all of our lives, there are many factors to how we measure our self worth, even in primary school, people would allow Valentine’s Day cards to validate how pretty or likeable they where, I would always receive one, which was always from my mum (I would also force her to get me one) just so I could at least say I had one card (lol). Flash forward to leaving school, the amount of people who signed your school shirt, was almost a measure of how popular you were throughout school, when in reality, the only people that matter are the real friends you made. However, just like cards and names on a shirt, eventually they mean nothing and I suppose one day, Instagram likes and followers will mean absolutely nothing too.
We all fall victim to feeling validated by such things, in work places, we feel validated by promotions and praise, however, all though these make us feel good, they aren’t the factors that make our lives worth living or make us truly happy. Although I love the industry that I work in, I would never allow it to be a measurement of my own success. My success is the amazing people in my life and the happiness that I feel.
It isn’t all bad…
Don’t get me wrong, social media isn’t all trolls and bad facetune jobs, social media can bring us together in ways you couldn’t imagine. Social media is the industry that I work in, its crested a job for me and I’ve learnt such a great understanding of the power of social media over the last 3 years. Whether you’re using social media to communicate with friends you don’t see too often, or using it as some light escapism from your current life situation, I think it’s Important it remember the benefits of these online platforms, however, at the same time, we need to be aware that everything isn’t always as it seems.
I’d love to know what you think about all of this, feel free to leave a comment down below!
Until next time x