We sadly live in a world where the amount of hearts and thumbs we accumulate on a post are important to our self-esteem, self-image and popularity. The desperation to articulate our thoughts precisely and airbrush our look in order to gain followers and portray a life devoid of reality’s flaws has allowed fakery to dominate our news feeds. A fakery that merely damages our self-worth even more. Younger and younger people are forming unhealthy relationships with social media and we are all desperate to see something real appear on our screens. And no, it’s not too much to ask.
Instagram is plastered with bikini-clad models living the la vida loca and gaining an extra zero to their pay cheques when they dupe another one thousand followers. It is a perfection we all seem to strive for but it is a perfection that is contrived, staged and completely manufactured by companies preying on impressionable consumer minds. The models that spread such ‘loving’ and ‘caring’ fitspiration to followers already nursing body image insecurities are not only culpable of implanting unrealistic ideas into the psyche of society’s young people but their lives are entirely false, edited to the point of being virtually unrecognisable – like seriously, we would walk straight past these posers.
It was, therefore, to our great delight when #mermaidthighs broke the internet. 2016’s trend, along with empowering ad campaigns that continue to break the beauty mould, have not only led the way for more body-positive accounts like bodyposipanda but have finally encouraged images of reality to be uploaded, finally breaking the constant stream of protein shake advertisements. Celebrities have also jumped on the bandwagon of shaming the body-shamers with the likes of Chrissy Teigen showcasing her stretch marks – as if we couldn’t love her any more, amirite?! Iskra Lawrence, the face of the American Eagle Outfitters’ lingerie line, also continues to post untouched photos and refreshingly rejects being labelled as a plus-sized model – yes, Iskra!
My most favourite trend of all, however, is the #30secondtransformation. Post after post, women around the world are grouping their posed fitness selfies with photos of themselves standing upright in natural daylight because, as outrageous as it sounds, this is an image never before seen on Instagram. This trend, particularly, has exposed the deceitful nature of social media for everyone to see – and I love it!
All of these trends show that, although social media created the problem, social media can also fix it. With the support of high-profile celebrities and body-positive campaigns, social media is changing for the better and there is hope for our sanity yet. We need to fight back against this fakery because not only is it incredibly boring to look at every day but it isn’t bringing us any joy. If we are to follow the philosophy of Marie Kondo, we therefore must throw it in the bin where it belongs.
Ultimately, we all need to take a leaf out of Serena Williams’s book when she said ‘I don’t have time to be brought down, I’ve got too many things to do’ – now that’s perfection!