I can vividly remember the day where I had enough. I was scrolling through my twitter feed and saw a photo of a young man who obviously had vitiligo ( a disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches). Shortly after this, a person retweeted the photo, comparing the young man’s skin to a cow. Not only had someone posted it, but the “joke” received several retweets. It was on this day that I was done. With Twitter. With Instagram. With everything. I deleted my Twitter account without a second thought. I deleted my Instagram shortly after.
The day that social media became an ugly punching bag, an impossible beauty contest, a place of superiority and insecurity, was the day that I could no longer take part. Although the final straw was the photo of the young man, there were other social media mishaps. Especially with young women.
In a study completed by the Social Issues Research Centre, studies show that the rise of social media has caused normal appearance concerns into major obsessions.
And by major I mean significant. How many times have you retaken your selfie before posting it to your page? What about making sure that you post at “prime times” to receive the most likes? After posting, you can’t forget to edit and fill with the appropriate filers. As a society, we have become accustomed to specific standards of beauty. Those seen on television and social media have made exceptional good looks seem real, healthy, and easily attainable.
The most interesting thing about social media beauty standards is that they don’t exist. None of them do. No matter how beautiful you think a woman is, she is not perfect. Even the most beautifully wrapped packages have a flawed piece of tape. Contrary to popular belief no one “wakes up like this.” The waist you see may very well be a shaper. That perfect hair may have come from hours of detangling and twisting. While yes there are plenty of beautiful women on social media, there are none who are perfect. I’ll use myself as an example……..
Now I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on this picture. From my weight to my hair, to my body, “doing it for the likes” fared well in this photo. If I had to dissect this picture, I would let you know that edges of my hair had grown out for the most part. My stomach was sucked in so hard that I almost died. My nail polish was chipped, my dress had a stain somewhere on the left, and my legs are full of scarring from my former eczema days. My point? Nothing is as it seems.
Put your phone down. No seriously. Put it down. Take a break and look at yourself. Look at the people around you. That’s beauty. That’s love. That’s life, and it is very real. This is what unplugging from social media did for me. It allowed me to focus on what “beauty” truly meant. If no one else tells you today, you are beautiful. Your “regular” is someone else’s gorgeous. Do not allow social media to say you when you’re trending. You’re always trending. Just because you are you! We may not be fashion models, but we are very real. And there is nothing more beautiful than that! Shine on.
Fox, Kate. “Mirror, Mirror” Social Issues Research Center (1997).Web. 3 October 2016.
Written by Michaela Phelps, Staff Writer, #mygirlsquad