#MakeInstagramCasualAgain

#MakeInstagramCasualAgain

We all have our aesthetic, but is it worth our sanity?

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Each post on my Instagram feed is an investment. Not only do I spend more time than I would like to admit on enhancing, editing, and perfecting each picture, I then have to create a brief yet witty caption all while ensuring that the chosen image will blend seamlessly into my feed. Welcome to a millennial mind.

Today's use of social media is unlike any form of communication seen by previous generations. The modern definition of 'cool' has shifted to accommodate the vast amount of time we spend on these new platforms, and constant fluctuation of what is desirable to society is driving users to impress others who are hiding behind their own seemingly perfect, curated lives.

Each of us is a bit more addicted to technology than we'd like to admit. The new reality our generation faces is that our beloved media platforms are changing the way we view society's expectations for our lives. Not only do most users feel compelled to post a certain amount, have a "respectable" amount of followers, and like all their friends' pictures, but they also are probably being influenced by what they're seeing on their feed without even noticing it.

I recently came across the term "imposter syndrome" which basically is the idea that people can have a hard time accepting their success because they feel like they didn't actually earn it. Have you ever had something so great happen to you and you just keep wondering, "HOW?" Maybe you got an A on an exam you studied all week for in that class that's been kicking your butt this semester, maybe you got chosen for a promotion you thought you had no shot of getting, or maybe you just love life right now but you don't think you did anything spectacular to deserve it. Yup, imposter syndrome.

Over the last week or so, I haven't been able to get this concept out of my mind. Thinking back over my freshman year, I've been able to recognize how the perfect online presence doesn't correspond to a happy user with shocking clarity. So many of my friends, who I thought loved their new environments based on their happy-go-lucky Instagrams and exciting Snapchat stories, have opened up to me about feeling like they just don't belong in their new strange place. The more they revealed about their feelings, the more obvious it became; they felt as though everyone around them was enjoying college, not missing home, and breezing through classes. And in their defense, that's exactly what they saw each time they clicked that little tie-dye box. I can't help but think back to a conversation I had with a homesick hallmate when she asked me, "Everyone else is loving every second of college, why don't I?" At the moment, I had no answer for her but truthfully, no one is excited about exam season, no one enjoys pulling all-nighters to finish that project, and no one wants to have the freshman plague for another minute.

Speaking of those pitfalls we all face, let's talk about finsta's for a minute. Everyone knows and loves them, but they bring up an interesting aspect of how we feel we need to represent ourselves online. No one is posting about a fight with their friend or bombing a presentation on their real feed (imagine the horror!!), so our digitally oriented generation created a new place to do just that. On the very same app that we display our false perfection, we allow only a certain, lucky few to see the reality of our lives. We're spending all our efforts to create the perfect vibe on our rinsta's, while being open about the ins-and-outs of life on our finsta's. So I beg the question, which account is the finsta and which is the rinsta?

The irony of it all? Even those of us who feel that way contribute to the problem. One of my Instagram posts shows me dressed up and laughing with a bunch of friends at a sorority event. The picture is adorable and fits perfectly into my feed, but by stalking my profile, no one would know that I got into a fight with a friend, broke my favorite shoes, and had a generally lame time that night. They see me – like the rest of the people on their feed – thriving. So here's to being a strong supporter of #makeinstagramcasual again, trust me it's for the best.

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My Freckles Are Not A Beauty Trend For You To Appropriate And Immitate

Those with faces full of freckles can't wipe them off like you can after a photo shoot.

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While it is fun to use makeup to express yourself, one can argue unless you are in costume, it should be used to enhance your features, not create new ones. The trend of artificial freckles puts a nasty taste in my mouth reminiscent to the feeling I get when I see a Caucasian woman apply such dark foundation to her face that she appears to be donning blackface.

To someone who has a face full of freckles, it is offensive to see you paint on freckles as if they were not permanent features of other people's skin that they cannot remove with a makeup wipe. I remember asking my cousin at 5 years old if I could surgically remove my freckles and crying when she broke to me that I'd be stuck with what she called giraffe spots my whole life.

I'm not alone in feeling self-conscious about my freckles. The face is the fulcrum of the identity, and it can feel like my facial identity is like a haphazard splash of orange/brown debris. Another against the fake freckles movement retorts: "you'll soon regret them when people begin to describe you as a polka-dot-skinned troll or a cinnamon-toast-faced goblin. Also, when your eyebags start to sag in middle-age, that 'cute' skin art will probably deteriorate into something more closely resembling oblong blackheads. Sincerely, A Freckled Person"

One woman recalls her struggle with accepting the patterns of her skin from a very young age:

“When I was a young girl, I remember staring at myself in my bathroom mirror and imagining my face without the scattered brown dots that littered my face and body. I dreamed of having the small imperfections removed from my face and obtaining the smooth porcelain skin that I envied. I looked at my bare-faced friends in awe because they had what I wanted and would never know. For some odd reason, I had made myself believe that my freckles made me ugly."

I've come to appreciate the beauty of these sun kisses, and many nowadays have too. However, freckles haven't always been considered cute. There is a history of contempt toward red reader freckled people, just ask Anne Shirley! The dramatic young heroine laments: "Yes, it's red," she said resignedly. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much — the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, "Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing." But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow." (Montgomery).

Historically, freckles on ones face have been seen as dirty or imperfect. It's easy to forget that Irish features such as red hair and freckles have been subject to hateful discrimination for centuries. In some places, the word ginger is even used as a slur.

I am not a red-headed stepchild for you to beat — or for you to appropriate.

My facial texture is not a toy for you to play with.

It is rude and inconsiderate to pock your face for a selfie while those with randomly splashed spots get someone once a week trying to rub off the "dirt speck" on their face.

Greg Stevens has a theory to why there is anti-red prejudice

“Skin tone is another one of those well-studied features that has been shown to consistently have an impact on people's assessment of physical beauty: Those with clear, evenly-colored skin are widely regarded as being more attractive than people with patchy, blotchy, or freckled skin.
Nowhere is this more obvious than when looking at professional photos of redheaded models and celebrities. Even those "hot redheads" that flaunt the redness of their hair usually are made-up on magazine covers to have almost unnaturally even skin tones. Moreover, there is a reasonable theory to explain why the bias against freckles might be more than just a cultural prejudice. Not to be too blunt about it, but freckles are cancer factories."

By that, the author means freckles can be early indicators of sun damage or skin cancer. This illusion that freckles indicate deficiency may also play in negative connotations toward a person with freckles

While I acknowledge the intention of people with clear skin who paint freckles on their face isn't to offend — rather it is to appreciate freckles as a beauty statement — the effect is still offensive. If you are thinking about trying this freckle fad, you should put down your fine tipped brush and consider what it would be like if you couldn't wipe away the spots.

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To The College Girl Feeling Sad, Remember This When You’re Going Through That ‘Almost Relationship’ Breakup

It wasn't a real relationship, but that shit hurt.

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We never dated. When we first met before the semester started, I knew immediately that I was about to fall *hard* for this dude. He was (and still is) cute, funny, and smart, and our personalities just kinda clicked. Flash forward two months. We ended up with a class together and sat next to each other three days a week.

As the friendship grew, we started to hang outside of class until we were meeting up literally every day to study, eat, or just chill and watch a movie. We talked about everything. Our conversations went on forever in the best way possible. We discovered mutual interests and a shared sense of humor, and as we grew to be close friends, I knew that he was somebody I could definitely see myself dating.

But as I started to really like him, it was clear he didn't feel the same way. We had a cute, fun, flirty relationship, but to him, that's all it ever was or was going to be. He may have liked me at one point, but our little romance was short-lived and fizzled out within a few months. And while I was grateful he was honest enough to be real with me, having that conversation sucked. When you see somebody as your future, acknowledging that they have become part of your past hurts like hell.

For me specifically, the part that hurt the most was realizing that the romantic part of us was dead and gone. No more sleepovers, no more late-night hangs, no more possibility of "us." We were platonic friends, forever and always. He had just broken up with that part of us, even though in reality, there was nothing ever there. Maybe that's why it hurt so badly.

Sometimes, the hardest breakups are the ones in which there's nothing to actually break off. You never formally dated the person, so you can't formally end things, which just leaves you seeking "closure" in a bunch of old Snapchat memories that leave you missing him more than you did before. I can't imagine that I'm the only one who's ever experienced something like this, so I'd like to speak to those girls who have recently separated from their boyfriend-not-boyfriend. We're very misunderstood, but surprisingly numerous group, and there are a few things that need to be said.

Hey, girls.

1. First of all, you are valid.

People like to come after chicks for being too dramatic or sensitive when it comes to "almost" relationships, but I'll be the first to say that these relationships are a lot more real than most people think. After devoting a year to a person, confiding in them, trusting them, laughing with them, and believing that you might actually become something, "Hey, I don't want to date you" is NOT an easy conversation to have at two in the morning. You've put half your heart into this dude, and you just had half of that person ripped away from you. Of course, it hurts. Even if it's just a simple DTR to him, you've just lost a piece of your best friend, and nobody gets to tell you not to be upset.

2. "Separate's always better if there's feelings involved" ("Hey Ya!" by Outkast).

This lyric perfectly encompasses the problem of trying to be friends with somebody you like. One thing that was hard to learn was that you can't be "just friends" with a person if one of you has feelings. You just can't. Once you've determined that you're never moving beyond the relationship you have now, it's really hard to be around them without thinking about the fact that you'll never be able to be with them the way you want to. It took me forever to figure out this was the reason I felt horrible every single time I hung out with the guy. Like any other breakup, this one needs time. You're not going to get over him in two days. Give yourself time to heal before you accidentally rip the scar back open.

3. Sometimes, the worst part is that he actually did deserve you.

My mom's go-to post-breakup pep talk is "You can do so much better. He doesn't deserve you anyway." In some cases, this is true. It's really nice to come to the conclusion that this person was a jerk the whole time, and he never treated you the way you deserved to be treated, and you're so much better without him. It really sucks, however, to come to the conclusion that he was so incredibly good to you, but he just wasn't the one. In this case, it's important to know that it's not your fault. There's nothing "wrong" with you. You're not not pretty enough. You still have a great personality. This relationship wasn't right for you two, but it certainly doesn't make you any less worthy. Even if he was great, even if he did make you tea and cuddle you for hours when you were sick, even if he made you feel confident and beautiful and supported you as a friend, there are other people out there who will do the same! You're better off now, not necessarily because you lost him, but because you had an opportunity to learn about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and what you want in a future partner. You get the chance to grow from this and be stronger in future relationships or even just as an individual.

4. You're allowed to throw a pity party.

Girl. That shit hurted. I know it, you know it, Taylor Swift knows it, my Spotify playlist knows it, and it's okay to be sad. You don't have to be "over it" like that *snaps*. It might take a few weeks or even a few months to feel okay again, and it's not stupid just because you never actually dated the guy. As discussed previously, there are still plenty of reasons that you feel like your heart is breaking in two. But I promise this will pass. Call your mom. Go through your old pictures. Write a breakup letter in your phone. Listen to every song that reminds you of him and cry it out. You have to really let yourself feel the hurt before you can be done with it. Eventually, you'll be able to hear that song without tearing up. You'll be able to look at your Snapchat memories and be glad for the good times you had. You'll be able to move on. Because even if the guy you "deserve" is a guy like him, you yourself deserve a life and a relationship you're completely in love with.

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