- post (a photograph or video of something) on the social media application Instagram.
I won’t tell you how many self-proclaimed models, influencers, and fitness gurus I follow on Instagram- if I did it would be embarrassing, and I also don’t feel like counting.
I know where you think this post is going this week: “InFlUeNcErS aRe FAKE NEWS! nOt EvErYoNe CaN aFfOrD fAcE LiFtS oR pRoFeSsIoNaL pHoToGrApHy! FaCeTuNe! TaNa MoNgEaU eDiTs HeR pIcS!”
If any of these were your subconscious statements then congrats (also leave Tana alone): you’re half right… But the influencers, celebrities, fitness gurus, and self-proclaimed models get a break this week (from my website at least).
Yes, not every celeb is what they seem, not every influencer loves the products they push, almost every model edits their photos and the fitness gurus eat donuts too- but we already knew that, didn’t we?
What I want to talk about today has nothing to do with the people we follow who actually get paid for having a social media presence. Today I want to talk about the people we follow that we all actually know… or at least know of…
Being a woman in the 21st century is hard enough, we don’t get paid enough, we have pepper spray on our keyrings and are more than likely objectified by half the men in our contact list; but to make matters worse, we live in a society where even in the midst of a global pandemic where we barely LEAVE our homes- insecurity can be provoked at the touch of a button, the swipe of a fingertip, or a double tap for a like all on an app we know and love.
Social media is a glorified highlight reel.
What was once a place of innocence where we posted our Canon Powershot digital camera mirror selfies from last weekend’s sleepover to our MySpace albums, has turned into a competition as to who can get the most likes wearing the least amount of clothes on Instagram.
Have you ever thought about how “offensive” it’s gotten to unfollow someone on Instagram… do you ever think about how fucking weird that is? To actually give more than half a care in the world that someone doesn’t feel like keeping up with you on a social media platform where nothing is real anyway?
We are all in so deep.
Have you ever thought about how whether you’d like to admit it or not, you get a little butthurt if the photo you just posted didn’t get as many likes as the last one you put up?
What about when your comments are low? When the guy you’re into doesn’t view your story? When you think your friends might be mad at you because they didn’t post enough fire emojis in their comment to you?
Do you want me to keep going or are you embarrassed enough now?
Before you say it, I know what you’re probably thinking- Carlie I literally follow you on Instagram… You’re pretty active LMAO. And yes, unfortunately, I am, but the first step of recovery is acceptance and you can’t accept anything until you laugh at it first, but I also don’t take social media as seriously as a lot of people I know.
It’s funny because my realization about how fucking stupid it is to care that much about social media platforms had little to do with any influencer I follow- frankly it had little to do with anyone I follow who has more than like 4,000 followers if were really talking statistics.
My realization came from personal experience. Let me explain.
I am and always have been a big picture person. I love taking photos, I love looking through them, I love looking through other peoples photos, I love having a snapshot in time to remember the things I’ve done, places I’ve seen, hell- I even love a good bikini photo (I gotta have something to show for all the time I spend in the gym).
I don’t think all social media is bad- especially if the correct intentions are there. But we all have that friend- to be honest we all have a few… Who literally cannot go anywhere in this world without everyone knowing what the wallpaper looks like on the inside of every restaurant they’ve been to last week. The one who literally stops the function to take pictures just so they have something to post to make their ex jealous. The one who plans their outfits a week in advance just so it matches their Instagram feed’s “aesthetic”.
Something that was created to be a fun photo-sharing app has turned into an unspoken competition of who’s prettier.
It’s turned into a contest of: whose life is better now that we’ve graduated? Who travels more? Who’s got the best style? Who has the most money? The cutest dog? The hottest boyfriend? Who’s wedding was more expensive? Whose job is more exciting?
All of these unspoken contests with zero entry fees, prizes, or recognition other than a couple of numbers under a photo has me wondering: have we left anything out of the public eye?
I mean fuck, Only Fans has gotten pretty big in the past year are we gonna start posting our sex tapes next? Too far? Lol.
Let me give you a great example. One that I’m allowed to share without getting sued because SURPRISE: IT ME!
If I told you this photo was taken in one of the hardest times in my life would you believe me?
If I told you I was the most depressed, I’d ever been during this month of my life would you believe me?
If I told you that I cried in the shower every single night I was on that vacation would you believe me?
Fuck no you wouldn’t. I’m eating a SpongeBob ice cream pop for Christ’s sake.
But in that moment when my friend took this photo- I was laughing, I was smiling, I looked as happy as I could have in that moment- and this is exactly my point.
Social media is a glorified highlight reel.
My point is when you’re scrolling through Instagram and see a cute photo on your feed of a girl with their boyfriend looking cheeky and cute it doesn’t always mean their life is perfect, their relationship might be just getting by. When you see a photo of someone on your feed with a toned tummy and a nice tan it doesn’t mean their confident, sexy, and perfect, they could have just had a good poop that day and were finally not bloated- and when you see a photo of someone laughing on a beach with a SpongeBob ice cream in their hand it doesn’t always mean their happy- they could be in the midst of healing a crippling case of a broken heart.
Your life is not measured by Instagram likes. It’s not defined by your follower count, and I hate to break it to you, but the majority of the people who like your photo are not printing it out to frame in their home- they’ve most likely forgotten directly after liking it.
We are lucky because we literally have professional-grade cameras at our fingertips to document every beautiful moment life has to offer. We have a way to connect and keep up with people who live states, countries, even continents away, and never miss a beat. We live during a time in history where practically anything can be done anywhere! And that is fucking cool – but please, if you ever find yourself centering the core of your existence around a photo app that was meant to be fun, put the phone down, pick your head up, and look around at all the things you’re missing in life.
There are far more important, beautiful things, than the endless feed, the instant “gram” of a drug, and the superficial nature that is: the social media post.
Anyways! Follow me on Insta! @sexandthesuburbsblog
Until next week.