Social media really is not what it seems!

Aug 23, 2020
Written by
Olimata Taal
Photographed by
Olimata Taal

f I could go back in time to the first day I ever created my Instagram account,

I'd tell myself to hold off for a couple of years - I have some inner work to do first.

Growing up in the late 90's I feel lucky to have experienced some of my childhood growing up without social media at all. It was introduced into my life as a teen rather than me completely growing-up on it, which is what I think a lot of younger people experience now. As well as this, I feel like I've watched a complete evolution of Instagram from an app I'd use once in a rare while, to it turning into a route to fame for some or a savvy business tool for others.

However, despite the positive attributes of the platform, I've definitely experienced seeing a darker side of its use emerge too.

With millions of people using the platform all across the globe, a lot of harmful comparisons can occur. We are given an open window into other people's lives that we don't even have to pay for. Inevitably, this also makes way for harmful comparison to easily arise from everything including body shapes, jobs, diets... lives! And it's only in the past couple of years I've really understood that not everything I see online is real.

This is a particularly important thing I need to remind myself when I start to get thoughts of body comparing creep in. 

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but there have been many times I have sat and scrolled through Instagram-model accounts wishing I could look like them or have clearer skin like them or even whiter teeth like theirs. For so long I thought I was the problem.

Little did I know I was so, so wrong.

For a while, I have known about photo editing apps, but in all honesty, I just thought they could change the brightness of the image, smooth out a few blemishes and that was about it. However, I had no idea that some of them are quite insidious in that they allow you to warp your body into something it isn't.

This is so completely wrong and personally, I don't think they should even be legal.

I share posts like I have here

where I record the process of using the editing app *not* (read: never) as a tutorial but rather as a warning sign of just how shockingly easy it is to do.

If I, someone who has never taken an editing course in my life can do this in the comfort of my living room, imagine what a pro photographer could do! The thought alone is terrifying!

To everyone reading this (yes, that means you), I really want to remind you to never, EVER compare yourself to anyone - particularly to an image of someone you see online.

Firstly, you just never know when an image could be edited or not and secondly, even the idea that there is one body type that every single person on the planet should obtain is completely nonsensical.

You are the ONLY you and that is your POWER!

Don't ever feel less than because of a bunch of societal "beauty standards" that are COMPLETELY MADE UP and not true! You are not the problem – periodt.

The world needs your shine right here, right now, exactly as. you. are!

Beautiful, you are so loved beyond measure.

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