We need to be aware of the artificiality of Instagram

Over the years, I’ve often heard the words, “wait, she looks nothing like she does on her Instagram.” While there’s plenty of criticism on the over-use of social media, an overlooked issue is how it perpetuates negative body images. 

Before posting photos on social media, many girls edit their bodies using photo retouching apps to appear thinner. A great deal of girls shrink their arms, add a thigh gap, elongate their legs, cut out or flatten parts of their stomach, the list goes on. Examples of these apps include Facetune, Perfect Me and Retouch Me. 

Our society today has everyday women and girls editing photos of themselves just as much as magazines do with their models. Even though my teachers told us to not compare our bodies to those of celebrities and models, I still compare myself to people like Gigi Hadid or Emily Ratajkowski whenever they post on Instagram. But what these teachers never mentioned was how we would compare ourselves to our friends. 

This is a massive issue that the public needs to be aware of. Retouched images on social media perpetuate unrealistic and unhealthy body standards. 

As girls edit themselves to conform to what they believe is an “ideal” beauty standard, they fail to remember that all girls have different body types. When women and girls edit their bodies to look thinner online, the diversity of women’s bodies seems to disappear. 

Women have been conditioned to judge each other based on appearance — both subconsciously and intentionally. By altering their appearance online, not only are they partaking in an obsessive and ultimately harmful past time, but they’re continuing a pattern of competition with one another. Negative body image is a prominent issue for women and this pattern of editing seems to continue the cycle. 

All in all, editing is something girls will likely continue to do because of its normality. I only hope that people begin to employ a more critical eye when on social media. As people passively scroll through their Instagram on a daily basis, they’re led to think that the photos on their feed are real representations of girls, and no I’m not talking about the Gigi Hadids of the world. 

Comparing themselves to photos they see on their Instagram feeds can impact women more than they may realize. We need to make sure we understand that social media doesn’t always present an accurate depiction of women or their bodies.

 

Caleigh is The Journal’s Opinions Editor. She’s a third-year Political Studies major.

 

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