We Need To Start Tuning Out Toxic Trends On Social Media

We Need To Start Tuning Out Toxic Trends On Social Media

We need to learn how to love our (unedited) selves.

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When scrolling through Instagram you are almost instantly attacked by overly filtered images of girls with perfect skin and perfect bodies. It's so easy to look past the fact that much of this perfection is filtered and edited. With Facetune and other editing apps coming out of the limelight, it has become easier and easier for us girls to edit out our flaws and filter out anything and everything, becoming the image of perfection we see documented on social media every day. Being a culprit of this myself, I can honestly say these trends can have an obsessive quality. There's something so satisfying about having the power to blur acne spots, whiten your teeth, or sinch your waist when you look bloated, but these "benefits" can also be extremely toxic to one's self-image.

I can't remember the first time I was introduced to the Facetune app, but I can't remember the last time I didn't use it. I don't use it to enhance the look of my body, but I do find myself trying to blur out the spots on my face that I have become so conscious of because of social media. Even if I look fine in the picture I still manage to cover up these spots in the Facetune app that works like magic to make my skin look flawless. The problem with this? My skin isn't flawless and when I look in the mirror my skin looks just as it did in the unedited picture of myself that I chose to hide from the world, causing me to feel even more self-conscious than I did before editing my selfies, still I can't seem to stop using this app.

I talked to some of my friends and Instagram followers about the toxicity hidden within Instagram and the Facetune app. A majority of the girls I talked to about these topics spoke about Instagram acting as a catalyst for some forms of self-consciousness. Some girls told me that social media forces them to compare themselves to others, while others said that it puts pressure on them to do more exciting things or work harder to achieve more. Some talked about how this pressure creates healthy competition for them to become the best they can be in areas of dance, art, or singing. Others stated that Instagram can cause some feelings of hopelessness, that they will never be as good, pretty, talented etc. as who they are comparing themselves to. The girls that used Facetune, for the most part, talked on how it made them focus in on the parts that they edited, which in some cases meant focusing in on flaws. Girls also spoke on how the app caused them to feel more insecure and fear that followers would notice that their picture was edited.

Being that it is so easy and common in this day and age to edit photos, it's important to notice this as we scroll through Instagram. Not everything is 100% authentic and when we can notice this, these editing trends can become transparent and influence us less and less. I want to try my best to be my authentic self online, while Facetune can help with covering up spots, sometimes it's important to note that our spots are human and there is nothing wrong with being human.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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Stand In The Mirror

An exercise in self-love.

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If you're reading this, then I want you to stop what you're doing right now, get up from wherever you're sitting, and go stand in the mirror.

Yes, that's right. Close your laptops, put down your phones, and walk to the closest bathroom, or vanity, or wherever else you can see your reflection the most clearly. Pretend like you're the only person in the world for a little while.

Are you there? Good.

Now I want you to look at yourself, very closely.

Start with your eyes. How beautiful they look underneath the light; you can see all their colors, just like a painting! Something that unique belongs in an art museum, don't you think?

Those eyes of yours have seen so many wonderful things. Think of all the sunsets they've allowed you to witness, all the times your best friends have grinned from ear-to-ear and all the books you've read.

Now, look at your lips. Think of all the lovely people they may have kissed, all the Thanksgiving dinners they've touched and all the funny faces they've helped you express.

Think all of the times they've opened to exude laughter and joy, to express awe and other associated feelings words cannot express.

Now it's time to examine your arms. Shrug your shoulders and admire the way they fall so gently at your sides, like water flowing from the mouth of a river. Think of all the wonderful things they've helped you to reach, of all the trees they've helped you climb and monkey bars they've helped you swing through. Think of all the people they've hugged, and all the dogs they've helped you pet.

Finally, move to your legs. Think of all the races they've helped you win, all the hurdles they've helped you jump through and all the lengths they've helped you swim.

Think of all the pristine places they've carried you to, and reflect upon all the places you'll soon be heading to.

Can't you see now that you're a masterpiece, dripping with color and beauty, emotion and experience, from every fiber of your being?

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