Ok, I know you have probably seen a million posts with this title or something very, very similar. So I’ll try to enlighten you with something you’ve maybe never read before! Let’s give it a try.
First of all, I’m using “Instagram model” as an umbrella term referring to all of these individuals with 3,000+ followers who don’t actually do anything, they’re just very attractive. Second, for the purpose of this post I’m also mostly referring to girls, because I have not (yet?) experienced the struggle that guys go through in the opposite context. With that being said, for anyone who reads this, please feel free to change the feminine pretense or word ‘girl’ to something that helps you relate to the post. Carrying on….
There are A LOT of girls on Instagram who are extremely fit. Tammy Hembrow, Mara Teigen, Kami Osman, and Essena O’Neill (who no longer uses social media after publicly outing herself for being fake on Instagram) are a few examples of girls with glamorous looking lives and great figures. Now I want to be clear about a few things before I continue:
1. I am NOT in any way criticizing any of these women or any other woman for getting any procedures done to change how they look.
2. I am also not calling anyone (listed above or otherwise) out for having gotten procedures, as I know there are tons of Instagram celebs who either work hard for what they’ve got or simply flaunt what their mama gave them.
3. As a nurse especially, I know the importance of private health information so I am most certainly not suggesting that people should have to share the procedures they’ve had done.
4. I’m simply trying to make a point about the power of social media on self esteem and in some cases, on self worth.
It was both a blessing and a curse growing up at a time when social media really wasn’t a thing (besides MySpace and MSN, obvs). In grade 8 I hung out with this girl that I thought was the coolest girl ever, and she taught me how to make my eyelashes all clumpy so they looked super thick, a trick she learned from someone else who learned it from someone else who learned it from someone’s big sister. And that’s what a make up tutorial was. I still think she could pull it off, but I looked ridiculous, and that to me is the blessing of pre-Instagram times (I actually tried really hard to find a picture of those bad boys but like I said, no social media- no evidence). The curse though, is that I wanted to learn that technique because I wanted to enhance my features and had absolutely no idea how. You could go to Shopper’s drug mart and get your face made over by some woman who also sells Avon on the side, who just wants to “enhance your natural beauty”, because contour was a thing of the future. There were no videos teaching you how to step-by-step color your lips so they look double the size. And there is something I really miss about that- everyone looked unique and like themselves with maybe the exception of a bit of concealer-colored lipstick going on. These days I can’t tell the difference between 12-, 16-, 22 year olds because of the magic of filled in brows, fake lashes and contour.
I’m only 24, and I can count on more than all my fingers how many girls my age (and younger!!!!!) have already had aesthetic procedures done. Lips, boobs, Botox, more lips. What I want to know is, who put Kylie Jenner in charge? Since when were huge lips the only way to have nice lips? It seems like the goal for so many young, beautiful women is to not emulate, but to mirror the look of KJ&co. And I just want to know why? The girls that I went to high school with who are now made up of 97% water and 3% juvederm were so beautiful when I knew them back then, although they are still beautiful now (just about $500/year more poor). Kylie Jenner is beautiful, but she’s also her own person, and we should celebrate that instead of celebrating how much we can look like her or anyone else for that matter (we are ALL beautiful!!!!!!!)
A while back I was talking with a friend (who is gorgeous by the way) about her disappointment in finding out one of her insta-inspirations, Niykee Heaton, is very much familiar with going under the knife. For the sake of women empowerment, I will not say either is “better” than the other, however I will say that I was sad to hear the disappointment in my friend’s voice, because her body that she works hard on at the gym is incredible. On top of that, I realized that letting your natural gains be inspired by augmented beauty is an automatic set up for failure. The reason I say it’s an automatic fail is because since we do not (and should not) know the type of work others have had done, if we’re not aware that the appearance of others is not the work of good contour or weight lifting but of a procedure, then we will never be able to reach a comparable level that we might desire, putting a negative view on all of our hard work. It’s like comparing a sketch we worked so hard to draw, putting in our best effort to make something beautiful that we’re proud of, only to compare our drawing to a perfectly edited photograph of the same scene, not knowing the comparison is actually a photograph, not something handmade. I’m not saying that the drawing or the photograph is better or worse than the other, I’m simply saying they are in a league of their own and that comparison can dull the shine of the other.
I hate to think that in order to feel beautiful, we have to look like someone else. Although I don’t blame an app that simply allows you to share the things you find important to you, I do think Instagram plays a large part in that. So the message I am trying to get across (long story “short”), is that instead of looking at girls on Instagram and saying I want to be her, let’s look at the girls who are flaunting their confidence and say I want to be that. I want to be confident. I want to love my body, that’s only mine and not like anyone else’s, and I want to appreciate the differences between us.
Check out Dear Woman Movement an Instagram account that posts beautiful pictures of beautiful women with beautiful captions to match!