In the great words of a Mr. Kendrick Lamar:
“I’m so f*ckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretchmarks”
We live in a world of photoshop. Everyone these days uses some sort of app to edit their photos. Whether it be just a simple filter on Instagram to enhance lighting, to a skin smoothing to blur out a blemish, or even a full on tummy tuck or booty stretch. In a world so desperate to put out what’s perceived to be the perfect photo of the perfect person all the time – we have skewed expectations and reality for those working their butts off to make a real change. These pictures have placed unrealistic expectations for beauty in the minds of girls everywhere and not being able to attain those expectations causes inevitable self esteem issues for many.
It’s no secret that the advancements in photoshop over the past decade has been incredibly damaging to the psyches of young women and girls everywhere and can lead to very real and very negative consequences. Depression and eating disorders are directly linked to the way women are portrayed in the both standard media (magazines, television, etc..) and social media. Here are some scary statistics:
- 42% of girls in grade 1-3 want to be thinner
- 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
- 78% of 17 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies
- 30% of high school girls and 16% of high school boys have an eating disorder
- AND teenage girls are reportedly “more afraid of gaining weight than getting cancer, losing their parents, or nuclear war”
I dare you to name a celebrity who has not been accused of photoshopping their Instagram photos. Go ahead. I’ll wait… J.Lo, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Miranda Kerr, Demi Lovato, ANY of the Kardashians or Jenners…. all use some sort of photoshop and filters to make their pictures look perfect. With all of this, OF COURSE social media is bound to take its toll on each any one of our self-esteem and perception of our self-worth within our culture.
So how do we as a culture make the expectations for beauty honest and attainable again? I’m not here to tell you to stop comparing yourself to others – I know you’ve been hearing that line since you were a kid AND chances are it’s just not going to happen – that’s life. But what I am here to tell you is to at least be aware of the comparisons you are making and be aware of the fact that not every photo you scroll past out there is 100% the truth – whether it be of a person’s looks or their lives. Be aware of the fact that the photos we see on Instagram are just a portrayal of what someone WANTS us to see. AND be appreciative of the hard work you’re putting in and the positive changes you’ve made in your life. Be proud of your selfie – that’s really all I can ask.