Social media, you either love it or hate it. It’s the marmite of modern life. You can find out a lot within a few seconds of being 1 year deep into someone’s profile. Sure, it’s great when you want to craftily take a stalk at your ex and his new love life, screenshot it and send it to the group chat mocking his choice of poor outfits and your poor choice in men. But, at the heart of it, is our obsession with the gram destroying our body confidence?
I’m going to make a confession, hand on heart and claim that my life spent through the scroll of a social media feed has caused me to become less comfortable and more self-conscious of my figure, my body and of course my appearance. I become self-critical when I see those girls from my year at school looking incredible and I look at myself in the mirror wishing I knew who their PT, their make-up artist was and why I don’t look that good. I spend about 50% of my time, scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feeds which I do believe is the cause of this reduction in confidence. I scroll past and see pristine fitness bloggers whose figures look impeccable: their flat stomachs with their perfect hour glass figures and perky booty just brings out the green monster in little Ev. The bikinis’ knickers rolled so far up their anus, they need pillars to remove it from their cracks but their back sides look amazing nevertheless and I’m sat wondering how many squats I’ll need to add to my routine to look like that. I’ve read, the articles where these bloggers have revealed their secrets to creating the best image. The angles, camera settings and of course the editing tricks but when I’m staring at this image with envy; I don’t think of the time it’s taken to create that masterpiece of an image; I’m becoming self-critical of my body, instead. I’m critiquing my curves, my lack of abs and of course my lack of height.
I’ll fully accept that prior to my CFS/ME diagnosis in 2017, I was very body confident. I was a real advocate of being confident in your own skin and I loved wearing a body con dress with a pair of snazzy heels. However, as the months have gone on, since my diagnosis; I find that I’m no longer that confident gal I was, confident being related to my body. Is it because my entire social media feed is; diets, weight watching and fitness bloggers from the states? Shakes, diet methods, fitness regimes, weekend pictures. Unfollowing would be the answer but I feel strangely like without that content, my social media wouldn’t be the same. When I receive messages about trying a shake diet, I question whether that’s an indirect attack on those insecurities that eat me away (only wishing they’d eat away at the MaltEaster’s I demolished hours prior) But, is my digital feed, becoming saturated with content encouraging me to lose weight? Whether directing aimed or me or the person entire following?
I scroll daily, thinking of all the things I’d like to change. I’d like to add a few inches to my height just to see whether if I was less of a short arse, I wouldn’t feel like such an oompa loompa from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I can see from the clothing I wear that I haven’t put weight on since all my clothes still fit and I also accept that hormones cause bloating which is the nemesis of body image but can you just not feel good enough in your own skin? But is social media the blame for my lack of body confidence? Have I become so obsessed with digital content that it is effecting the real life image that I have?
Yas! Why? Social media is the mask we all wear to depict the good. We use social media to share; new job news, new relationships, holidays, achievements and when we’re looking smoking we want the men who ghosted us, to see it and think ‘damn should’ve text her back’. We share the good but do you ever have a bad day and think, I’ll take a selfie and share this on Insta, no you don’t. I’m aware, that on Instagram you’ll post the great and only the pictures you want to share but how many shots do you take of a certain picture to get it just right for the satisfaction that it’ll get with your followers and friends. You and your sister or you and your mate, will stand in front of a lovely backdrop for 15 minutes trying different poses, trying out whether a particular pose is good enough to prove you’ve added 5 squats into your workout. So, the image you’ve shared is the one you want to share, it’s probably 1 of 20. Reports by experts, are suggesting that interest in cosmetic surgery for body enhancements and improvements has drastically risen by 20% since 2008. With my £27,000 worth of analytical skills, I’d suggest this has a lot to do with, social media. Pre-2008, social media wasn’t as prominent as it is now. We had our holiday pictures on our cameras but editing such photos was not as easy as a quick flick of a setting and filter. The time it took to import those photos to a computer, it wasn’t worth uploading to your Facebook, Bebo or MySpace. By the time you’d do it, you’d be on the next year’s holiday.
Social media is a competition. Whether you’ll admit to it, you share your holiday snaps, your outfit pictures and of course your relationships to get at someone or just to showcase how much of a great time you’re having at that moment in time. So, what are your thoughts, is social media impacting our body image and confidence??
PHOTO CREDIT: AIMI CHAPLING