Two Friends, A Meme, And A Half-Naked Beauty Queen
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Two Friends, A Meme, And A Half-Naked Beauty Queen? I'm Changing My Use Of Social Media

You don't need to airbrush your life online.

Two Friends, A Meme, And A Half-Naked Beauty Queen? I'm Changing My Use Of Social Media

Today, my Instagram feed featured two friends, a meme, and half-naked beauty queen, all in the first five pictures. The latter shot was an ad from Victoria's Secret, featuring airbrushed girls in silver holiday lingerie, all limbs, and long lines. The ad said, "Victoria's Secret: 15% off your self-esteem!" Or at least, that's what it said to me.

We've all been warned about the dangers of social media. Numerous studies have shown that social platforms can negatively affect your mental state, sometimes causing depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Too much time analyzing the carefully curated collections of #goals moments on other's profiles may also cause low self-efficacy, which is the belief that you can achieve something. In this case, low self-efficacy may mean that you don't believe you can live up to the standards which someone sets online.

After hearing it from our peers, our mentors, and socialites themselves, we know that profile pages don't show a complete picture of someone's reality. When I notice that I'm comparing myself to a post, like the VS ad, I pause and evaluate the validity of my negative self-talk. Usually, this tactic helps me recognize when I'm being too hard on myself. The only standards I'm concerned with meeting are my own, but maybe that's the real problem.

Perhaps it's not just our tendency to obsess over other people's profiles but is our tendency to criticize our own accounts which does so much damage.

I've always loved photography, whether taking or studying photos. Before I created my Instagram account, I used to snap pictures for my own sake, recording memories instead of aesthetic squares. Now, I spend way too much time obsessing over choosing the "right" photo to post, editing it to perfection, then deleting anything which no longer goes with my feed. I plan posts to commemorate events and accomplishments, as well as time with my friends. Like millions of other users, I enjoy posting my personal highlights online. But even with so much personally meaningful content to share, I still catch myself wondering if my page is up to par.

Dressing modestly makes me feel comfortable and confident. I enjoy fun patterns and a healthy dose of sparkle, but for the most part, I feel my best when I'm mostly covered. I don't have any pictures of me, spray-tanned in a bikini. I shouldn't have to feel like my account needs at least one of those shots to stand out.

I've found that for my accounts to be truly accurate, they need to reflect my real values and goals. Even though it's called social media, it should really be personal in nature. I plan to tailor my profiles to my personal style and interests. I want to post as much or as little as I want, and share content which I "like" the most.

There's no need to airbrush your life online. Your best self doesn't need a filter.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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