Instagram makes me feel like I'm 42
I’ve never, not even in my wildest dreams, thought that I was physically stunning. However, for most of my life, I’ve lived with a good amount of self-confidence.
(And yes, okay, I have gotten a nose job. But that aside…)
I’m not included in the 1% of women who are born with pore-less skin, or the ability to eat whatever they want and have none of it show up on the scale, but I’ve always been confident that if I style my hair well, put on some makeup, and a dress that fits me nicely, I can turn some heads if I want to.
I think that’s a pretty solid, good level of confidence to have.
But all of this confidence and rational thinking about appearances has completely disappeared due to Instagram. Or, as I like to call it, the cancer of this generation. And I don’t mean that in a funny, exaggerated way.
Instagram makes me feel like I’m over the hill. And not only am I over the hill, but I’m the last one to get over the hill, trailing behind all of the fitspo girls that ran up it quickly and then took a photo at the top.
There are a variety of things that happen on Instagram that are a death blow to self-esteem (especially as a women) but I’m going to highlight just the top 3 here.
1. Girls are growing up too damn fast
I first want to say, that I partly understand this. It’s the urge of every tween and teen and in-between-er to put out a persona that you’re more matured and advanced and older than your peers in different ways. I didn’t drink or have sex in high school at all, but I recently went through my old Facebook photos and blog posts, and I sure as hell tried to insinuate that I was a drinking, sex having, party girl.
But teenage girls flex on Instagram more than any other age bracket I’ve seen. They’re obsessed with material things.
Millennials and Gen Xers and, of course, boomers, were all born before social media took off. Instagram was barely a thing when I was in high school, and it only started to get popular when I was in college. The teens of today grew up on Snapchat, the app that literally filters your face to look different. My generation grew up on Facebook, which at the height of its popularity was wall-to-wall posts and photo albums of you and your friends.
Snapchat and social media addictions plague every girl from the current ages of 18 and below, and as a result the pressure to push out a vibe, or aesthetic, is just all consuming. Girls plan trips around Instagram locations, or befriend certain girls who own DSLR cameras, or even attend events just to get the right “insta” it’s all a bit insane. I don’t blame or look down on anyone for it - I know I would be doing the same thing if I was born just 10 years later. But at any rate, it’s pretty alarming.
2. Fuck you fucking Facetune, fuck!
I want to first admit that I’m a total hypocrite because yes, I use Facetune. Granted, I haven’t been on my personal Instagram in about 3 months (I just have one for the blog), but back when I was on Instagram, I would Facetune nearly every photo before posting it.
I once Facetuned my god damn furniture photos so they would sell quicker on Craigslist.
And if you Facetune correctly, it’s nearly impossible to tell that you’ve used Facetune. Sure, there are moments where someone uses the “smooth” feature so excessively that their face looks like a water color painting, or when someone modifies a bikini photo and the skyline changes, showing that they’ve virtually pinched their waist…but for the most part these little nips and tucks are essentially invisible.
You know what doesn’t nip and tuck? The god damn mirror! And most of the people we follow on Instagram are models, or influencers, or celebrities, or old friends that we no longer see in person. So we can’t compare these photos of skinny girls to the reality of who they actually are - average girls with a stretch mark here or cellulite patch there. And since we can’t verify with our own eyes, we believe the photos to be real. And ourselves to be hideous and fat. Maybe that’s just me, though.
3. No one is posting their camel toe like I asked them to!
My very first blog post (that actually inspired me to start FluentlyForward) was about quirky girls on Instagram that bug the shit out of me. I wrote about how while most Instagram influencers and models post dangerous photos of them looking perfect 24/7, the quirky instagram girl is also annoying because she posts photos where she looks “bad”…but she never looks bad.
She fell in dirt, but she still looks skinny and pretty. Or she’s taking a “gross” photo but the only thing gross is that her tongue is sticking out in a beautifully silly way. Or she’s dressed from head to toe in designer clothes, but she’s sitting on the sidewalk rofl rofl so random!!
Ugh. I hate it.
The point I’m getting at is that people only ever post their best angles, best moments, best selves. And then a few ‘quirky girls’ post their best candids. Basically, everyone is posting the best. And this leads you to thinking that you’re the worst because the times when I see myself on my phone are typically from a front-facing camera where I look liked demented fat Shrek on his period. Ugh. I hate the front-facing camera.
Basically, we see ourselves at our worst. We see ourselves go from a 1 in the front facing camera, to a 4 after we pick the best shot, to a 7 in Facetune, and then a 10 after VSCO edits.
We see ourselves as a 1. But for others, we just see the finished product, which are all 10s. And nobody is brave enough or cares little enough to post the photos where they look horrible, or nasty, or have their camel toe out.
(Seriously, though, did you see the photo where Kim Kardashian blurred her camel toe?)
Literally people are photoshopping their camel toes. What the hell kind of world are we living in?
So what’s the solution? Honestly I don’t know. Photoshop, and presenting the best-only version of yourself is something we all do mainly because everyone else is doing it.
I’ve posted more bad photos of myself on my personal Instagram than good ones. And then shockingly enough, the world didn’t change after I bravely posted a few bad selfies, and people continued to photoshop their photos. The result was me saying “fuck this” and leaving my personal Instagram behind.
However, something that is on the rise (and I absolutely love) are new accounts that expose celebrity and Instagram modeling photoshop. Check out:
Celebface (it’s private most of the time, but request to follow them, they’re amazing)
It’s my hope that these accounts start to gain traction, and while they may never stop celebrities from photoshopping themselves, they might help normal girls to realize that none of this is real. Even the Victoria’s Secret Angels photoshop their photos on the runway. We’re all suffering here!
What are your thoughts on the dangers of Instagram? Let me know!