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Social media the good the bad and the ugly

Every day I wake up, turn off my alarm and scroll through Instagram and Twitter. I see photos of girls who have perfect skin and lovely clothes. I want to look like them and wonder why I can’t have flawless skin, hair that doesn’t frizz or abs all day every day? But I can’t because none of this exists; no one has perfect skin all the time or hair that’s never out of place. People almost certainly don’t have abs all the time because it doesn’t work like that, I know this because I eat well and train hard and I’m lucky if I have abs before breakfast.

We have created a world with advertising, influencers and social media in which everyone is trying to portray the perfect image which simply doesn’t exist 24/7. We are led to believe that to be happy we need to have amazing abs, a peachy bum, long flowing hair and perfect skin. What we see encourages us to try and fit into this ‘idea’ of how we should look and I think it is so wrong. When I was growing up social media wasn’t what it is today, the LG Cookie was about as advanced as you’d get with a phone unless you were lucky enough to be able to afford the iPhone 3G. You could take a basic photo and that was pretty amazing. You needed MSN to be cool and then Facebook was brought in which soon became very popular. Eventually, I got the two and spent hours taking and uploading my selfies to Facebook just to get ‘that boy’ to notice me, but at this point it wasn’t a big thing. Once Instagram was introduced it all changed, we were snapping pictures of our cosy socks, food, cats and the occasional selfie but it wasn’t used in the way it is now.

Social media is a very influential object especially on the younger generation; it’s the norm to upload everything on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I know that I compare myself to photos I see of other people and I often wonder why I can’t ‘be more like her’ but the thing is what we see often isn’t real or unedited. That candid photo of the girl in the seashell bikini with her hair flowing around her probably took 50 shots and multiple different positions to get that look, plus required time taken to do her hair and makeup and knowing not to eat too much before the shoot because she didn’t want to look bloated on camera. These images are the things young girls, boys and people of all ages aspire to be like. I know I do and I know not only from a blogger perspective but just from common sense that countless hours are spent adding filters and adjusting photos to make them perfect, but does everyone realise this? Are our children aware of this? Or are they trying to be something that they never can?

The sad thing is that we mainly share good things on social media because we want people to think we have an amazing life. You see pictures of the perfect couple who always look happy and you want to be more like them, but you don’t see the things they bicker about or their struggles and you get so caught up on this that you destroy what you have because you fail to see what is truly real. You see the girl with the clothes you wish you could afford but you don’t realise that she works overtime so she can afford them and doesn’t see her friends because of this. You see the girl with perfect skin and think how lucky she is but you don’t realise that the photo’s airbrushed and that really she’s like you and I, with spots and stretch marks too. So much of what we see is fake, not the people but the lives we believe people lead are. People struggle, fight and work so hard to do what they do but we don’t see that. We just see a photo or a few words and think that they are lucky.

Again on a personal note I understand all of this because I love going to the gym and posting ‘post workout selfies’ but I feel I have a duty to make people aware that I don’t have abs all the time like I do in my photos and that the time of day, what I’ve eaten, what I’m wearing and the angles make such a difference to a photo. I don’t eat healthily all the time either, I eat cake and I drink sometimes too because life is about moderation. I would never take a photo of myself after I’ve eaten a massive meal and share it because I don’t like how I look after eating loads and I don’t want my followers to see this. At the same time I don’t want them to believe that I look like I do in pictures all the time because that would be so unrealistic, I get home from work most days with frizzy hair, no makeup and being super bloated just because I’m a girl and I’m happy with that.

The main thing for me is that we are obsessed with achieving perfection which is unrealistic and unachievable, what is perfect anyway? I’d love to see more ‘bare faced’ selfies and people loving the skin they are in. I want to see more of today I’m having a bad day and realness. I am tired of trying to live up to unrealistic expectations that I’m never going to be. I need the younger generations to realise that they don’t need to change, I have become more and more aware within the last few years of the ever growing amounts of both younger and older people with anxiety, eating disorders, body shaming and just trying to be something they aren’t. The world’s a dangerous place and I think we share a little too much of our daily lives, some things deserve to be private or left to the imagination and that just doesn’t seem to happen much anymore.

I used to scroll on Instagram to see what my friends were up to but now I’m looking at what clothes I want to buy, what look I want to achieve or where I need to eat or travel to. I rarely see what my friends are up to and the whole reason of social media initially was to bring us closer when in fact I think its torn us apart, families don’t sit and play games as much as they used to or watch films they sit scrolling on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and not really connecting at all with those who are around them and that is such a sad thing and to think that my children (when I have them one day) are to be brought up in a world where talking isn’t the main way to communicate or making mud pies and playing football in the garden isn’t the go to activity is a really sad idea to come to terms with. This is something that my dad always used to talk about, he would always tell me to put my phone away and talk to the people who I was in a room with because I was there at that moment and I thought he was silly, but he was just wise as to what was coming.

On a brighter note it has become so much easier to share what I get up to on a daily basis and if it wasn’t for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook then I wouldn’t have been invited to blogger events where I have made some of the best friends ever. I also wouldn’t have kept up with all the things my friends who went off to university were doing or the friends and family that don’t live nearby are doing, so for that I think social media is amazing. However the main thing we all need to consider is ‘will being like what we see in this picture make me any happier and is it realistic?’ if yes then how can we achieve that reasonably and if not then we need to move on and stop obsessing about it. Thank you for reading todays post on my thoughts about social media, I would love to know what you think too.

Love Saffy Dixon x

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