life, thursday thought |

Is Social Media Making You Feel Ugly?

douglas coupland

 

They say ‘comparison is the thief of joy,’ but in an age where our lives live a duality unlike any other generation of history’s past, comparison seems to be a daily if not hourly activity.  Though not everyone participates in Social Media, its pervasiveness makes it such that you are somehow inevitably drawn into its vortex if even solely as a voyeur.  And if you’re in the thick of it, well, comparison seems to become second nature.

We are ourselves; daughters, sons, mothers, brothers, sisters and fathers and on Social Media we are that but also whatever we’ve decided to portray as the controlled version of ourselves.  We are: the excellent organic mother, the vegan runner, the conscious rapper, the irresistible centrefold, the bad bitch, the dope boy, the cat lady, the pizza – pineapple – rose – friendship bracelet – brunch loving obsessed – California dreaming – hipster from the SIX who only drinks matcha.  The freedom that Social Media provides you to allow for a curation of your life is unlike anything the world has ever seen and as it continues to evolve I often wonder not only what it’s doing to me, but what it’s doing to us; what it will do to our kids….

I know for me it has amplified insecurities that have always been around since I became aware of myself as a sexual being.  When I realized that my body was more than just a vehicle to propel me through, under and around my little world.  When I realized that people looked at my body as desirable or undesirable and that I had a reasonable amount of ability to control what that body looked like – or at least the world (and weight watchers) told me that I did.  Social Media, though exciting and interesting and engaging, is also a constant reminder to me in some sad and shameful ‘I-should-be-able-to-handle-this’ kind of way that I’m not skinny enough, pretty enough, desirable enough and with the bar being constantly set higher and higher, that I might not ever become enough.

Social Media also does an excellent job at celebrating, congratulating and propelling an unrealistic and may I say ‘fake’ and or ‘purchased’ ideal of beauty that I thought I was committed to forever avoiding.  If you asked me four years ago if I would ever consider botox, butt shots or any kind of artificial injection I would have looked at you sideways and said: are you crazy?! (Keeping in mind insecurities around beauty were and have always been there) But if you asked me that same question today, it would take me a lot longer to answer.  It’s a fact that the more you’re exposed to something the more comfortable you become around it, like a bad smell or say, abuse.  But I used to live next to a slaughter house and that smell never failed to disappoint me and no matter how comfortable you get being abused, it is never, not ever, ok.

Somehow though, we have become very comfortable in not only a very augmented beauty ideal but also in comparing ourselves to others as if someone else’s beauty is more desirable than our own.

I’ve talked to many people about this, it’s a hot topic around these parts.  ‘Take another picture’ they say.  ‘I look so ugly in that one, don’t you dare post!’ I say.  It was finally something that came up over a real face-to-face conversation with one of my best friends that got me thinking about all of this.  She said, ‘I just don’t feel pretty anymore.’  I felt sad when she said that because she’s not only gorgeous physically, but she’s an incredible soul.  I prodded her a little more and she said ‘I just seriously can’t look at myself without the SnapChat pretty filter!’  Though I laughed, I kinda agreed!  Not only are we now almost forced into obsessively comparing ourselves to others, but also into comparing ourselves to the slightly better, brighter, filtered, Social Media, version of ourselves.

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As we continue to march aimlessly down this rabbit hole of narcissistic self expression and examination I do believe that there needs to be more of a real conversation around this new(ish) form of media even to just get a better understanding of who we are as a people and how quickly we might be changing.  I’ve always been one to want to not only discuss the things that are bothering me but also am very interested in finding a real way to affect change.  I’m loving things like Raw Beauty Talks and the #TakeYourMakeUpOffChallenge and adore people like Alicia Keys who are addressing this topic head on but I’m wondering what else we can collectively do to make a little more noise?

This is me taking the Take Off Your Makeup Challenge….  It was tough!

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What are your thoughts on how Social Media is affecting you?

xx,

Coco

 

p.s. you’re beautiful

3 comments

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  1. Alana says on

    Hey coco

    I have been following your blog for a few years and I love it. It’s hard in the day and age to just be yourself. You are constantly required to be the BEST MOST AMAZING version of yourself. I have always hated have my photo being taken. I don’t know how many pics I have I deleted because I thought my chin looked wonky or one side of my face looked bigger than the other. I simply don’t take photos of myself anymore. I don’t have the energy or the patience to learn how to look amazing in a photo. I have no interest in wasting time taking 50 pics of myself and then trying to find the right one. What is even most annoying is the extremely photogenic people that want to drag you into their photo. I often wonder if they do this because they know that I look like shit in photos so they drag me into their photo so that they end up looking amazing by comparison. We as human beings are becoming more and more narcissitic it’s really sad. Selfie sticks need to just disappear they are vile things filters are gross as well. I have Facebook and that’s about it. I only have one photo of myself so that when I add people they know it’s me. It took me hours and hours to find the right one. I know still having a Facebook page makes me seem like a dinosaur because everyone else has Instagram and snapchat

    1. Hi Alana,

      Thank you for your comment and thank you for reading, your support means the world to me! It’s so strange how things have changed so quickly in the world and how photos of ourselves have become our main mode of communication between each other.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I think we need to talk more about these changes because maybe we can start collectively finding ways to make things a little better.

      You’re beautiful.

      xx,

      Coco

  2. Alana says on

    Hey Coco

    I just read my post. I am sorry for the rant and the grammatical errors I just typed and then posted it without reading it. I have read a few articles about our obsession with social media and what it’s doing to our society but I think it’s too late. Like I said I think selfies and filtering appeal to our insecurities. So I think we have two options succumb or avoid. You look amazing in the makeup free photo you posted.