The more I use it, the more that I accept the fact that social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it has enabled me to share my story and connect with others. I’ve made amazing friends, shared jokes, seen beautiful things in the world, and learned so much, all from my phone…
And then, there’s the bullshit.
By “bullshit,” I mean the photoshopping and facetuning of bodies into unrecognizable oblivion, the photo shoots on a friend of a friend of a friend’s yacht, the flashing of likely borrowed (fake?) wads of cash, and the ridiculous curation of photos to craft a life on display that looks maddeningly perfect and completely detached from a little thing called “reality.”
Sadly, even in a world where body positivity is becoming more widely accepted, social media still has a tendency to value fantasy over fact. Just yesterday, a heavily enhanced photo of Khloe Kardashian made the rounds, leaving people equal parts amazed and appalled at how much her image was altered to fit a standard mold of perfectionism that permeates our culture to this day. While many of us are aware of the work that goes into crafting such an image, there are still others who see a photo like that and get down on themselves for not measuring up. In some cases, these same people run out to “fix” themselves to fit this ideal, needlessly altering their bodies and faces when what they had was just fine. The voices screaming at us to fit in and consume are still just a half-decibel louder than the voices cheering us on to be happy with ourselves as is, and thus the conflict continues.
Well, I am here to tell you once and for all: that shit is not real. Not even remotely.
For those of you who think your skin needs fixing because your pores are too “open,” I can tell you with the certainty of a professional esthetician with several years of experience under her belt: not even the healthiest of skin is poreless. Pores exist, and they are necessary. Without them, we wouldn’t sweat or expel impurities from our bodies, which would lead to certain death due to overheating and toxicity.
Also: even people with the most “snatched” bodies have some loose skin, dimples, and cellulite. No one’s waist is naturally that small. No one’s ass is naturally that big. It’s all a combination of lights, cameras, software, and scalpels.
Now, I am not going to say that I have *never* manipulated a photo. Sure, I’ve played around with the lighting, I know my angles, and I’ve erased an errant pimple or two. But never once have I put forth an image that was not fundamentally real. I have never changed my body or face to the point that I was unrecognizable in real life. I’m all about putting forth the best version of yourself. I will not ever advocate putting forth a false image for the sake of fitting an unhealthy beauty narrative that has decimated the self-esteem of girls and women for decades.
Furthermore, I am not going to knock anyone for weight loss or even plastic surgery. We are all within our rights to make improvements and enhancements to ourselves as we see fit. However, before you reduce your diet to 1200 calories a day or go under the knife, ask yourself: “Who is this for? What am I trying to accomplish? Who am I trying to impress?” If you feel for a second that you are doing such a serious operation to appease others or emulate some sort of beauty ideal in the name of mass acceptance, skip it.
As for those accounts where it seems like every night includes some glamorous excursion or expensive escapade, I’ll say this: I could bet good money that these same people are not as “rich” as you think they are. You’ll be surprised what a pretty face, a nice dress, a glass of champagne, and the right lighting can do for someone living with three roommates in a two bedroom apartment. And if they are really that rich? It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re as happy as they make themselves out to be or that your life is any worse without all the trappings of “success.”
In all, don’t let the glitz and glamour of the ‘gram make you believe that you are any less beautiful, abundant, or amazing just because you don’t look a certain way or have a certain lifestyle. If you stay present in your own life, you’ll find that you have your own brilliant, riveting stories to share. Feel free to dream bigger, reach for more, and get dressed up. Just don’t get caught up.