I have always struggled with the way I look and the way I present myself in my everyday life. While my friends all sport their beautiful memories and pictures on their Instagram account, I can’t bring it within me to make an Instagram account for myself and post my pictures there.
Being a millennial, you need to be active on social media, that is a given and there’s no two ways about it. I have a Facebook account, because, let’s be real, who doesn’t? Every time I scroll through my account, I have this urge of changing my profile picture but then when I scroll down my camera gallery, I find nothing worthy.
And, the question that does come to my mind at that point is, “Who am I comparing my worth to?”
What it is that I don’t find enough to match my self worth? What it is that I am competing against?
I have an Instagram account for the little write-ups and snippets that I write. But, I can’t bring myself to post a full body picture or anything for that matter.
Statistics suggest that over 91% of women aren’t happy with their body and end up resorting to diets to achieve the body shape that they deem ideal according to society.
I can’t necessarily speak for someone else but the “perfect” life of the social media influencers has played a very big part in this budding negativity in my mind.
Let me make a quick rundown of some points.
“I wish I had that lifestyle”
If you are someone like me, you would know how mesmerizing it is to notice through some of the aesthetic Instagram and Tumblr accounts showcasing beautiful vacation spots and such.
I stare at those uploaded pictures for an extended period of time thinking how amazing it would have been if I could have the life that they have.
While the rational part of my mind knows that they have worked their way for it, the irrational part will never accept the struggles that they have experienced, thinking that it’s all super easy and handed over to them.
This is where the insecurity starts seeping in.
“They have the perfect body”
Fitness is one of the biggest parts of the Instagram community. There are abundant influencers preaching the importance of fitness and healthy eating, their feed filled with the perfect stills of leafy greens and their well sculpted body.
We are subjected to such a well drilled mindset in the society that all that we think of when seeing such “perfect” Instagram models is that the same can never be reflected on with us.
It is not an unjustified thinking because those perfect figure and a healthy lifestyle is what thousands and millions of people are idealizing and fawning over, thus making it a criteria of “standard” that we never deem to double check.
We fail to understand that every single person has different body shape and metabolism. Not everyone has the capability of maintaining the perfect figure like they can.
But, who cares, right? At the end of the day, you are not going to be showered with the likes and comments if you have 200 pounds.
“Let us become inclusive”
One of the primary reasons why I have struggled with my body image and still to this day do is because of the brands that have unmatched and unparalleled standards and definition when it comes to beauty.
I would scroll through a clothing app and find nothing suitable in my size and that made me realize, if a brand that manufactures something as basic as clothes doesn’t want to be inclusive when it comes to their customer base, how can I expect the same from the rest of the world?
Possible insecurities – at a peak level.
“Why do I care?”
I have tried the most important way of trying to fight back this problem much like how many people advised me to – “JUST BRUSH IT ASIDE.”
But, at the end of the day, when it is you who has to step out of the house with stares scanning from the tip of your hair on the head to the sole of your shoe, you care.
When you have people side eyeing you because of the appearance and rounding off by making comments, you care.
When you have your own next of kin thinking you should start applying creams to even out your skin tone and work out to shed off those excess pounds because, “Have you see the other girls your age?”, you care.
And trust me, even when you say you don’t one day when you open the Instagram feed the next morning trying to reply to the meme that your best friend sent you, coming across yet another similar post will take you back to square one from where you started with the self-consciousness.
So, I am always up for any kind of feedback that can help me boost the quality and credibility of the posts that I make. I had a friend of mine, Pranith, reach out to me with a feedback stating that he felt that the post seemed incomplete.
I asked him, “What do you think I should add?”
He suggested me two topics that are definitely part of our overall growing up and how the same has actually played in mine, and every girl’s overall host of self confidence, along their line of growth.
Projection of women in the media
Being someone who is from India, I have grown up with peppy Bollywood numbers with lyrics not just downgrading women but telling us “Women are supposed to get flattered with that.”
While I definitely didn’t understand the severity of this when I was a kid, now that I am 24 years old, I definitely can’t keep my attention averted from it.
Media and entertainment are for our leisure and for our “pass time” but what if that media is what made me believe that “beautiful” is signified by women who have a well sculpted body and the “sex appeal” that would keep the boys off of their feet?
For someone with chubby cheeks, a dark skin tone and a flabbing tummy, I don’t think my self esteem did well with those unachievable and obliterating standards.
Not just for me, I believe it is wrong for the media to portray such unrealistic bouts of beauty standards for women who are already berated with the constant pressure of “not being enough.” We have enough on our plates already – with the risks of sexual harassment, abuse, wage gap and lack of recognition, we definitely don’t need the media to add to that pile of further stress.