When I saw the post for Social media I had so many things I wanted to say. I have so many issues with social media that I didn’t know where to start, and before I knew it the prompt had closed and I hadn’t contributed. I have a facebook account in my vanilla life, but I don’t post on there anymore, I got so sick and tired of seeing pictures of kids going off to their first day of school, what they ate for dinner, drunken nights and so on, that I decided to avoid this social hell like trend of oversharing, made my account private and stopped posting. I do use the messenger tool for staying in touch with some family and friends. I do have a twitter account (as most of you know) which I use to publicise my blog posts and I post the occasional separate thing, retweet things I think are interesting. But on the whole I think social media is responsible for many of the worlds ills, in many ways it is more like social hell on earth.
Young and foolish?
The images that we see on social media, like instagram, facebook and twitter are, more often than not edited, and filtered to within an inch of their lives, so is it any wonder that so many young people struggle with feelings of inadequacy? Thinking they are ugly or too fat. You can remove spots, smooth lines, change skin tone, whiten teeth, how many images are actually completely natural?
Does that mean I don’t edit or filter my images? Well not exactly. I do remove or blur my tattoos but that is an attempt to maintain anonymity. There are a couple of spots on my body that again are unique to me which I use the healing tool to remove them, but I don’t smooth my skin, or reshape my body. I do use filters to change the colours and effects of images.
People rarely share the bad moments of their lives, so their ‘feeds’ are full of ‘how great is my life’ images and statements. I wonder how many people read these ‘pretend’ real lives and feel that they are not succeeding?
I know a few people guilty of that. Measuring their lives against someone else’s, and coming up wanting. I wonder if it has any relationship to the rise in teenage depression and suicide? I mean the young people exposed to these images have not had the time to develop enough personal confidence to recognise that it isn’t all ‘true’.
And that’s before we start on cyber bullying, which would require a post all on its own.
Older and wiser?
But then again are we any wiser as we get older? I have a love hate relationship with my body. Taking part in some of the body positive memes (Sinful Sunday and Lingerie is for Everyone) has helped me to challenge my personal perceptions – of course these are not the kind of images that I could share on vanilla sites like facebook. The thing is, clothed I didn’t feel unsexy, clothed I could look in a mirror and be happy, it was when I was naked that I felt awful. Naked I would walk quickly past the mirror. Sinful Sunday and then LIFE has helped me to move past that feeling of shame and disgust. There was a time when I wondered what the hell I was doing. Why wasn’t it enough- MrH telling me how sexy I looked? The simple answer was that I felt he was biased. He already picked me, he already married me.
Having complete strangers tell me that I was beautiful and sexy actually made me challenge my own preconceptions. I think if ten people tell you that your hair looks good they can’t all be wrong right? Ten strangers who don’t you from Adam, have no skin in the game, no reason to lie, they can’t all be wrong. I have mostly only received positive attention, and then there’s been a few who’s attention has been less than respectful but on balance it has been a body positive experience.
So these meme’s, and posting images of my body on social media, helped me, but at the same time I am acutely aware that for some people social media becomes a social hell.