I used to spend hours scrolling through my feed, comparing myself and my life to every other woman’s on social media. Wishing for that hair, praying for those clothes, dreaming of that life. It made me feel awful. It took away the gratitude I had for my own life and replaced it with utter disappointment.
And then I met one of these ‘perfect’ girls. One of ‘instafame’. I realised in that moment that pictures are exactly what they are. Manipulated, edited, strategically performed photos. If that’s what you’re into, that’s cool. It’s not what I’m into. I once saw a girl comment on a photo of another girl I know (in actual reality!) saying “omg your waist is so tiny! How do I get mine like that!?”. Having seen this person in real life multiple times I can confidently say the image was highly photo-shopped and her body manipulated. This young, impressionable girl was then left believing a waist 10cm in circumference was attainable and she should have one, too.
This is ONE example I have seen. There are thousands. Girls are literally killing themselves in an attempt to look like someone who doesn’t even look like that themselves.
I understand people want to feel good- and the instant gratification from the thousands of likes and followers may help them achieve this. But when does it become too much? Where do we draw the line?
I believe as women, we have a duty of care to one another. To be honest, to be transparent. I personally would NEVER want to deceive an impressionable young girl into thinking she needs to go to extreme measures to achieve something I have led her to believe is achievable when in fact it is not. At least not in a healthy way, or without A LOT of behind the scenes assistance (i.e. make-up artist, hair and clothing stylist, photographer etc.).
Being real to me is about being HONEST. Being true to yourself AND others. I don’t want anyone feeling the way I used to when scrolling through my social media feeds, full of self hatred.
Young women are SO vulnerable and at risk when it comes to social media and unrealistic body standards. We need to support them.
Awareness is increasing and people are becoming more savvy in determining falseness especially when it comes to social media. I can only hope that this continues and we can simply appreciate these images without having to compare ourselves and wish for something different.
This is why I stand with the girls at #ChooseReal and why I will try to continue being true to myself and everyone else around me.
Claire is the amazing founder of Her Society - a story sharing platform and support network for women all around the world.