I am a huge fan of Instagram. I think that it is an amazing outlet for creative work, for opinions, for love. It’s amazing how Instagram can bring people together. I mean, I have MET people in real life (IRL if you will…) thanks to Instagram. There are so many wonderful people out there who send out amazing messages via social media every single day. It’s all about what we choose to follow though…
Social media is also an excellent source for criticism, hate, judgment, and bullying. Unfortunately, the quickest and easiest thing to criticize someone on is their body and what they look like. You don’t have to do a lot of research on someone to know what they look like. You aren’t having to sift through their spirit and their soul and their creativity in order to find out what their body size is – you just see it. Instantly. So that sets us up for instant judgement based on the physical.
A lot of that is the way that we go through life too – we see someone in life, and we are either attracted to them instantly or not. We like the way they smile at us, we like the way they make eye contact, we like the way their mouth moves when they talk… or we don’t. The beautiful part of meeting someone irl, is that we’re given more than a single moment to make an impression. (This is why online dating is so hard – we only get 5 pictures of someone’s entire life, and then we swipe right… or left. We just swipe their face. Options seem endless, so we just willingly swipe, swipe, swipe.)
I think that social media has allowed us to become extremely judgmental of each other, and of ourselves. We tend to follow accounts on Instagram that contain pictures of people we admire, who we pull inspiration from, and who we want to be like. We tend to follow the “ideals” – specifically the “ideal” body. The problem with this is that we are only seeing perfection, and perfection never ever happens in real life. We’re out there looking for inspiration but by following the ideals, we let ourselves down scroll after scroll after scroll. That’s epically uninspired in my opinion.
We want our real lives to look like an Instagram profile… it’s completely impossible (and not actually as happy and bubbly as it seems).
I’d like to suggest traveling out of your comfort zone on Instagram.
All of this looks the same. There’s nothing wrong with the lives that are portrayed here. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the body types that are displayed here either. They just don’t represent the reality of the general population. They also don’t represent the ideal body type – they only represent ONE body type.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of [wo]men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain
And in a day and age where seeing photos and individuals from around the world is as easy as an Instagram follow, why choose to vegetate in one little corner of the earth?
Begin shooting the moon by following some of these wonderful Instagram accounts that empower broad, wholesome, charitable views of real women:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.” Anne Lamot
Shoot the moon ladies. Shoot the moon!