I’m 7/8 of the way through a bottle of bubbly, so this might be incoherent, it could also be ingenious. We’ll soon find out.
If you actually have full time commitments you might have missed the furore this week about social media being a crock of shit. Would you believe that most people post only their highlights on social media? Some people present an image of themselves that isn’t entirely accurate, I’m as shocked as you.
Essena O’Neill has blown Earth off its axis and several other social media sensations have joined the conga line. I followed Essena for a while, but unfollowed because I got sick of her talking about zen in a padded bikini, and I was over her posting her food in an effort to convince everyone that she had an insatiable appetite. This was a couple of years ago, and at the time, I remember thinking what a poor example it was for fellow teenagers who don’t have infinity edge pools and endless wardrobe options.
So now she’s all “social media is a lie”, she’s deleted the majority of her pictures and added an honest commentary to the majority of the others. Good for her, whatever floats your boat babes.
What is really grinding my gears is the other social media “celebrities” who are coming out saying things like “I’m not perfect, I have ups and downs and struggles, and I’m on my own journey, just like you. I ate four squares of chocolate yesterday, and some days I wear trackpants and tie my hair in a messy bun. Instagram is a great tool for promoting the products I believe in, and I am proud that I am a role model for a healthy lifestyle.”
Honestly, more power to you with your health and wellness and activewear that you actually do activities in. I do comprehend the amount of effort and commitment that goes into a body like that. I spent a reeeeeeally long time (about a quarter of a year) trying to get one of those bodies so that I could take just one #fitspo photo in Bali, and I didn’t even get close. I squat, I just don’t feel the need to post about it on social media. Maybe if I had a *insert peach emoji* ass to show for it, I would get it out, but somehow I doubt it.
I remember the comparisons and insecurities like it was only yesterday. I remember wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ for one of those bodies like the girls in the FHM and Ralph magazines. Of course it took me 10 years to realise that even the girls in the magazines don’t look like the girls in the magazines.
So here’s my concern: how does one convince a young girl that the measure of her worth is not how many likes she gets on Instagram? How do we show young women that while it’s a hell of a bonus to be a babe, it’s also super important to be humble and kind and passionate and thoughtful. That you should train your body as well as your mind. That you should work hard and hold your own, and support your friends, and love your parents, and buy shoes if it makes you happy, but having a bum worthy of a bikini shot on Instagram is not the most important thing in life.
This is not a blog about bullying or body shaming, or about advising against posting your ass on Instagram, if you’re all about squats, and you want everyone to know, then that’s your prerogative. My issue is that these females that are “influential” by their own admission (and almost a million followers on Instagram is pretty gosh darn influential), and crying “I’m not perfect” and “everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” and “don’t be fooled what you see on social media” and “I only promote products that I believe in” and “I didn’t get a free trip to *insert European country*, I worked hard and paid for it” and posting picture after picture after picture of their perfect life, pert ass and perky breasts.
Now, this may never be an issue with Miss M. If she ends up with the body of a supermodel like her mum, she will have very little to worry about when it comes to having something that will attract likes aplenty on Instagram. But the risk that she will end up body dysmorphic or with a glass half empty attitude is high, if she spends her spare time on social media looking at the lifestyles of these ladies. Honestly, if she can get a job taking selfies for a living, then hallelujah, but, if like the majority of us, she has to get a real job, who should she be following on Instagram that advocates office work?