“Why don’t I look like her?”
“Why am I not having as much fun as them?”
“Why does so and so have so many more likes than I do?”
And ultimately, all of these questions indicate a very real, very problematic situation. What is really being asked here is “what is my self worth?”, relaying our self-worth and self-esteem on the number of likes on an Instagram picture. Women’s insecurities and self-esteem issues are nothing new, but for some reason, have magnified to a dangerous level with the rise of Instagram and its infamous filters.
From celebrities like Beyonce and Kylie Jenner, who use Photoshop and an insane amount of filters to make their pictures look perfect on Instagram, to the friends in real life who make a point of taking pictures that give the illusion of perfection, social media is bound to take its toll on our self-esteem and perception of our self-worth. Beyonce has been accused of photoshopping the long sought out for “thigh-gap”, and although she was called out for it, that didn’t stop girls from looking at their thighs and comparing them to Bey’s.
Even when celebs like J. Lo try to encourage natural beauty and want to show their fans how they really look, it’s still deceptive. She posted a picture with hashtags like #NoMakeup and #realface, but how real is it? The filters she uses make it look like she has blemish-less skin, flawlessly radiant in the morning, but if the picture was untouched, it’d look very different. Huffington Post writer Lauren Cahn tried to change the picture back to its original status and this is how it actually looked.
J. Lo is undeniably gorgeous, Beyonce is beautiful and this doesn’t take away from their own beauty, but the illusion of perfection that Instagram allows you to create is dangerous on many levels. Girls use filtering to hide acne, blemishes, pigmentation, scars and anything that is slightly seen as a flaw, because they think flaws aren’t normal. But they ARE.
If you really think about it, flaws are the most normal thing about being a human. We’re all flawed in one way or another; we all have marks on our skin that tell a story and for us to live in delusion is causing self-esteem issues. Celebrities are both the culprits and the victims of Instagram’s pressure to be perfect. Because they’re under scrutiny, they themselves might have self-esteem issues, and know that one “ugly” picture might warrant them a lot of hateful comments and insults.
We need to get over atelophobia.
And be in pursuit of wabi-sabi