For those of you who don’t know, I am currently a senior in college working towards a degree in Communication with a focus on media studies. I have been really lucky to have a major that challenges me to see the world in a different light. This includes not only social media in general but also my own personal social media use.
One thing that really bothers me is how our beauty and self worth in 2014 is seemingly defined by the standards set by social media.
Girls thinking that they aren’t beautiful because they don’t look like the girls in the Instagram accounts their boyfriends follow. Relationships not meaning anything if it’s not ‘Facebook official.’ People thinking #MCM or #WCW is necessary to prove they think your significant other is attractive.
Are we as a society really that insecure?
I will be the first to admit that I have struggled with not feeling like I am ‘good enough’ in the social media sphere. Thoughts like “So and so didn’t post a picture with me they must be embarrassed of me” and “he didn’t like my selfie he must not think I’m pretty” are things that have crossed my mind while looking at my own social media accounts. I know it sounds pathetic, but I have a hard time believing that I’m the only one who’s had these thoughts.
For those of you who do know what I’m talking about, I would just like to tell you that you are beautiful. You’re beautiful in the way you think, the way you talk about the things you love. For the way you treat people and how live out each day. Your beauty is more than what is temporary; it is your soul and your ability to love. Your self worth shouldn’t decrease because of social media.
I have a picture that sits on my bedside table that was taken at the end of my fall semester last year. The photo was taken on one of those nights where I was not feeling my outfit (ladies you know what I’m talking about). After trying on so many outfits my room looked like Forever 21 on Black Friday, I still wasn’t feeling beautiful at all but I finally settled for an outfit. It was early on in the night when I met up with the other individual in the picture, and the first thing he said to me was, “Alex you look absolutely beautiful tonight.” In that moment, the music stopped, everyone else faded away and I was just left with this individual and the words he spoke to me.
Can I ask you one thing? When was the last time an Instagram picture someone posted of you made you feel that way? Or a selfie? What made that moment so special and meaningful is that it was something for the two of us. Our twitter followers weren’t involved; there were no motives for ‘likes’ or to prove anything to anyone. It was genuine, dare I say real moment, that I would take over being an Instagram model any day of the week.
Now I’m not trying to selfie shame anyone or discredit any relationship, social media-driven or otherwise. But what I am saying is that those things aren’t what should define you.
So maybe we should spend less time worrying about what filter we put on our pictures, or if the angle we take a selfie from is going to make our face look fat. Maybe we should stop tangibly “proving” our feelings for people just to make a point on social media, and start actually telling people they are beautiful instead of mindlessly liking a photo.
We need to stop turning to social media to define who we are.
You > Social Media.