I’ll throw my hands up in the air (clutching my iPhone) and admit that I sit on the tube swiping through my Instagram feed every day, liking and commenting on posts wishing I was “more like her“, or “doing that“. It’s become a habit. I don’t even know i’m doing it.
Since I downloaded it 2 years ago I’ve always thought of Instagram as a photo sharing app, but in the last year or so it’s become a lot more than that. Instagrammers are realising the potential their little profile can have, and that they can become their own brand in the palm of everyones hands. The thing is, pictures of your night out or your dinner apparently just aren’t cutting it anymore. We are all so used to scrolling through reems of pictures that have been edited, preened and polished and chosen specifically to create a perfect highlights reel of that person’s life and because of this, the bar has slowly been raised without us even knowing. It’s becoming less of a fun tool and more of a social strategy.
This weekend I had a few glasses of vino with my big sister and her friends. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by kick ass women who think lightly of themselves but deeply of the world, (check out Emma Gannon’s top class blog here and Stevies comedy sketch group here) so naturally the conversation got onto feminism, social media, insecurity and a whole bunch of related stuff. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw “after 5 glasses of red wine and a whole lot of chatting later… I got to thinking…” in a world where an honest, body positive and talented women like Lena Dunham’s Instagram has become a hotbed for debate and diatribe, it’s no wonder the rest of us are worried about posting anything other than flattering and cool pictures of ourselves and our lives. If you’re raw with the world, you naturally open yourself up to public opinion and because everyones a publisher now, those who like don’t like what you do feel it’s their right to tell you (and the rest of the world) what they think.
You can get trapped in a cycle of trying to be who we are while making sure we’re showing only the best of ourselves. And jesus isn’t that exhausting?
If you click through to my Instagram you’ll see i’m not exactly the most spontaneous poster. I definitely consider what photos to post and love making them look pretty… but there’s a difference between posting something you think is cool and considering every single detail. I stumbled upon a youtube video of a very well known Instagrammer recently called “How to edit your Instagram photos” using three apps she described, in detail, how to she made her pictures “flawless” (and how you should too), by editing her face, clothes and even by editing the lighting and colour of her breakfast. Maybe she sees this as an art form, but I can’t help but see this type of thing as the exact reason why so many of us are obsessed with being more perfect in day to day life.
It’s almost as if we’re all resigned to a life of crisp white table settings with symmetrical egg breakfasts (i’ll admit I have snapped that one myself) and contoured selfies (who can be arse to do that for a photo?), but hang on a second, have we all forgotten we have a choice? With Instagram we don’t have to have this image of perfection shoved in our faces like we have to with Movies, TV and magazines. We have the choice to banish what makes us feel inferior and fill it with body positive, empowering and inspiring people with a real message. It only take a few ‘unfollows’ and ten minutes digging a little deeper than the 10 most “insta-famous” accounts and you’ll find people doing some really cool shit on that tiny little app.
So, enjoy and snap away, but choose to make it inspiring and aspirational in a positive way, instead of filling it full of accounts that make you worry about what you’re not.