I spend a significant amount of time every day reading articles online, looking for those ideas that will finally hit a nerve. The other day I was reading this very informational article about why the Thor: Ragnarok cast is the funniest cast ever on Bustle, and suddenly I stumbled upon one titled “Every Beauty Trend on Instagram is Even More Fake Than You Think“. It wasn’t a suggestive title trying to lean me towards a new trend. It was a statement. And the writer, Olivia Muenter, is on to something.
My main takeaways from the article were that the content we’ve seen on influencer and celebrity social media accounts in the past, is now becoming the content we’re seeing posted by our friends. It’s difficult to differentiate between what’s real and fake in terms of beauty, and the “normal” standards are now up to what used to be a product of hours of work conducted by a hair-, makeup and lighting team. Additionally, editing tools have become so easily accessible, which only increases the need to look “flawless” (whatever that means).
It’s ironic how we’re living in a time where “girl power”, “feminism” and “every body is beautiful” are amongst the keywords/phrases, but on the hand we’re spending more time putting on makeup (contouring adds on approximately 500 steps), wearing fake lashes, fake nails, hair extensions or wigs. There are gasps if someone says they don’t have a skincare routine, and anticlimactic reactions to someone admitting to having had work done.
Social media plays a huge role in the exponentially contagious vanity, and as much as people like to blame the Kardashians, I blame the influencers and bloggers. The fact that anyone can grow their following, make money and receive free products only by posting pretty pictures of themselves – now that’s the new and revised American dream isn’t it?
Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers, because they’ve worked hard to get where they are. They’ve had to build their brand and differentiate themselves enough to convince their following and sponsors that they’re worth that spot in our feed. My issue is with the normal people that spend hours creating a single post. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a well curated feed, but it’s when people stop living in the moment, and only do things for the feed that completely throws me off. I’ve gone to fancy restaurants that are supposed to have unforgettable food, but I’ve had to let my meal get cold because my friend had to get the perfect picture. I’ve had friends that want to hang out with me solely to get a free photoshoot for their Instagram. I’ve had friends asking me for a good caption, because of my experience in social media. Some people take their feeds so seriously that it’s hard to figure out if you’re having dinner with a person or a straight up Instagram feed. Why are you doing so much work for your 400 followers?
There’s an obsession to show that we’re perfect in every way, ranging from our makeup, to our clothes to our coffee and even friends. This past weekend, Mari and I met up with some friends and we talked about the difficulty in not judging people by their appearance. Having recently moved to a new country, we tried using Bumble BFF to meet new people, and we were shocked by just how much we judged everyone. You’d think it would be easier to swipe right on people that you’re not looking to date. New friends: 0. Pool of potential friends: thousands. That just raises a question of whether we’re naturally vain and judgmental as humans (most likely), as twenty-something girls (most definitely) and as reflected people (you’d be surprised).
So at the end of it all, we’re spending so much more time and money on our perfect faces and pushing motivational quotes, while obsessing over content that will impact people for a couple of seconds (the attention span is at 8 seconds now, but who spends that long looking at a post?). Is it all worth it? Is that number of likes going to give you some sort of validation? The sad thing is that a lot of us would answer yes. Not only is this impacting us to create such content, but we start judging those who don’t. If you take anything away from this post (if you made it to the bottom I congratulate you), that it is to stop letting the feed dominate your life. Everything doesn’t need to be shared, nor does it need to be at an influencer level (unless you’re an influencer, then that’s your job). I’m guilty of doing a lot of the things I’ve pointed out here, and there are things about my face that I’ve tried to change. If you want to create thumb-stopping content, go for genuine moments that influenced your life – that type of content is going to perform much better than simply showing off a new purchase or staged shoots (unless they’re for brands). At the end of it, be a person who’s happy both in person and feed.
Now excuse me as I post pictures that required an hour of hair and makeup, hours of editing and pretty much go against everything I just wrote – but boy did we have fun doing it! Byeee xx