Surprise bitch, remember in my “November Reads” post when I said I had a lot to say about social media? Well, here it is so buckle up buckaroos because it’s going to be a particularly rambly one (and a long read, just a heads up.)
Social media isn’t the problem; money and greed are.
Social media was once upon a time a simple place. It was an escape, a creative space for the world to connect through our similarities (or differences if you will.) Where we could post little windows into our normal, weird – albeit mundane – everyday lives. There was a blissful period of time when the world was still mourning the death of Myspace, nobody was sure what Facebook even was, Instagram was still wearing nappies and Tumblr was peak social media for the outcasts and the misfits; we could post whatever the hell we wanted without the pressure of being perfect or polished and it was beautiful!
Fast-forward to present day – you now need a business strategy, five photo editing apps and an iron will to have a “successful” Instagram page. Facebook is a minefield of adverts (you had a passing thought about buying a new toaster yesterday so here’s fifty online sales for you to throw your money at,) fake news stories and those weird “Click here to see what you would look like bald” apps.
The scariest aspect to me is the fakeness that comes hand in hand with most online profiles. It’s becoming more common for people to only post their massively edited highlights to showcase an extravagant lifestyle that is simply untrue and in most cases completely unattainable. And you see, I can understand that because why would you want your ugliest photos or biggest flaws paraded around for the world to see? You wouldn’t. But when you’re posting photos – say from a recent trip or a fancy meal – to a schedule, to create the allusion that these types of experiences are an everyday norm for you then THAT is dangerous.
A new dawn is coming; a generation of brainwashed kids who believe the highest achievement in life is to be a YouTuber or an “Influencer” and it’s being proven time and time again that you don’t need any real talent or knowledge to get there, you just simply need to look good… better than good. You need to look flawless at all given times, arrogance is usually a given and you need to be able to generate sales – because this is what it is all about; this is the part that angers me, it’s all about making money.
We’re all being programmed to believe we are incomplete unless we are perfectly sculpted with the help of lip fillers, protein shakes, hair and nail vitamins or surgery. We are incomplete unless we’re perfectly golden with the help of an expensive fake tan or constantly abroad somewhere exotic topping up our glow. We are incomplete unless we have overflowing wardrobes and make-up cases – all of which must be unboxed on camera to show the world either how rich we are to be able to constantly afford new lavish items, or how important and popular we are to have items sent (or “gifted” as the kids these days call it) by companies.
The consumerism cogs are forever turning. The rich get richer because of our insecurities and inability to accept ourselves as we are, our mental health deteriorates as we continue to compare and compete with one another. Not to mention it’s boring as fuck.
I’m old enough and wise enough to see through the facade now; I’ve been seduced into that way of thinking and I have tried to live that lifestyle myself. All it did was damage me. Not only did it damage my mental health but it also put a strain on my relationships with the people I love; when you’re trying to live a lie or become something you’re not then not surprisingly it makes you act out of character. You become completely obsessed and self involved. It’s transparent. You’re not the person that the people around you came to love you for, and you start to drift apart – the perfect lifestyle becomes even harder to attain and the whole thing gets more and more stressful.
You have to choose your words carefully when touching on this topic
It’s not the first time I’ve pushed this subject as it is something I feel rather strongly towards, and I have accidentally insulted friends who believe in this lifestyle or who have chosen to enhance themselves with lip fillers. Now, hear me when I say this – it is not about what people do to make themselves feel better and I am in no way mocking this. Whether that be lip fillers, hair extensions, fake tan, whatever. It’s irrelevant and you’re missing my point – hell even I wear false eyelashes and hair extensions! It is human to have insecurities and there is nothing wrong in indulging in a bit of self pampering.
You have to choose your words very carefully when discussing this topic to not offend and i’m not so sure if I’ve been successful with that so I do apologise if anyone is hurt by what I have to say, that isn’t my intention. What I’m trying to say is, there seems to be a certain pressure and expectation these days and to be perfect and busy, successful and wealthy to get ahead in life all the while having perfect children and the perfect flashy cars (and still maintain a flawlessly clean house/outfit??? you must be dreaming!) and I worry that things like creativity, kindness and intelligence are slowly being forgotten.
Now I’m not naive, I am well aware there has always been a divide of class and wealth since time began and sadly there always will be. But because the issue is constantly there for us to obsess over, to scroll through at any time or place disguised by a squeaky clean filter and an enticingly inspirational quote the effects seem to be amplified and will continue to accelerate. And that worries me for many reasons.
If you are a person who has had lip fillers before and my opinion offends you please let me ask you one thing – what made you decide to have lip fillers? Is it because you were unhappy with the size of your natural lips? Yes? And why is that do you think? Because the stereotypical ideal of sexy is a woman with lusciously plump lips (amongst other things) and it is constantly being shovelled down our throats everywhere you look. There is always something telling us we need improvement and that is my fury.
My rage is at the modern culture of corporate greed, the people who prey on the self conscious for their own financial gain and will constantly dangle this false, unattainable image of perfection like a carrot on a string, regardless of the damage it inflicts – not only to our mental health but the environment.
I am fighting for the low maintenance girls who are still hella sexy without make-up or filters, for the exhausted hard workers who don’t have the time to be “perfect,” for the low income earners who can’t afford the latest beauty product or new clothes every month but still have so much talent and heart to offer. For all of us.
My point is, social media is no longer fun, it’s draining and hard flippin’ work and it’s become so commercialised to actually be enjoyable anymore. But the thing is, it feels to me like a toxic relationship that has ended and I don’t feel ready to let go yet – I still remember the good times and I see potential for something that could still be so great but sadly I think there may already be too much damage. There is too much poison and money involved for it ever to go back to what it once was but that will never stop me from trying.
The crazy thing is I know most girls (and boys) are exhausted from it all too, yet the boulder continues to roll because we don’t stop feeding in to it. It’s a hard spell to break free from; nobody wants to be ugly and shit! Well, I for one refuse to be anything other than myself. I love raw honestly, real opinions and embarrassing situations that I can relate to that make me feel normal! I absolutely refuse to ever push a product I don’t genuinely love and want to share with the world. I swear to be authentic, honest and real at all times through the good, the bad, the ugly and I urge you all to please do the same.