Let's Talk About...Body Image & Social Media

5:25 PM

Welcome back!

So today I'm back with my "Let's Talk About..." series with something that's really been on my mind lately. I've touched on the topic of body image before (check it out here), so I'll do my best not to repeat myself too much from what I've said in the past.

Today I want to focus a little more on how body image relates to social media, because I think that's something far and away different from just focusing on body image itself. It's about the messages that are given to us by our social media accounts and how we receive and respond to them.

I admit it. I'm a social media junkie. I spend hours poring over Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram--way, way too many hours. I've kind of become consumed by my social media obsession, which is something I'm trying to work on in this new year and as I head into bar prep. And by and largely, I think social media can be a really powerful medium for good. In my own experience, I've had a lot of positive support when I've discussed my mental health, my sexual orientation, and more. Social media is also fun--I love looking at how other creatives put themselves and their lives together in such a pretty way!!

However, I think there are problems with engaging in so much visual media, and one of those is its cost to our body image.

I've always had kind of a delicate relationship with my body and how I perceive it. Some days I feel amazing; others, not so much. I know I'm not the only one who struggles with that, but sometimes it's a very isolating feeling--that you're the only one who struggles to accept the body that they're in. And maybe it's just me, but hours of staring at images of people who are thinner or taller or prettier or have better clothes than me can be kind of wearing.

There was a time that what we saw of other people was every moment of their lives--the good, the bad, and the ugly--right down to their imperfect skin, stomach pudge, or frizzy hair (hello, me a lot of days!). We only got to see them as they were, not as they wanted us to see them. And others saw us the same way.

But social media has changed that game a little bit. Instead, it allows us to put out the best version of ourselves, and seeing the best version of other people all the time can lead to a lot of unhappiness and a lot of comparison of our own bodies and our own looks against the perfection of other people. I know my own struggles have been with remembering that the people I view on my Instagram are real humans too--humans who have bad hair days, don't always eat pretty food, and sometimes have a messy house on top of it all.

I don't exclude myself from this game at all. I'm definitely guilty of it! I know that personally I don't post a lot of photos I take on any given day because the lighting's not perfect, I forgot to suck in my stomach, my pimples are flaring, or any other number of things. Social media allows me to portray to the world that my hair is perfect, my outfits are flawless, and I'm never making a weird face (which, btw, is a total lie). I do the best I can to be real with my feed, but sometimes I'm afraid that I'm not doing enough.

It bothers me to think that maybe what I do with my "curated" Instagram page, perfect profile pictures, or happy status updates are contributing to anyone else thinking that their body, face, hair, self is imperfect or less than.

So I'm going to do the best I can to be more real with you. I'm not promising posting photos with glaringly bad lighting or office selfies all day every day--what I am promising is that I will be myself. Sometimes my photos will feature my weird faces, puffy tummy, or incomplete makeup, because that's often what I look like. Sometimes I'll post memes and funny quotes instead of amazingly edited photos, because they make me laugh and I want you to laugh too. I promise that from here on out, I'll let you know that it's okay to be imperfect, because we all are.

I hope that if you ever feel imperfect, or flawed, or less than, you'll remember you're not the only one. I hope you'll remember that none of us are perfect, and everyone only posts the best of themselves. And I hope if you'll commit to showing the world a little bit of your imperfection, too.



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