The Great Internet Illusion
The internet is a funny thing. Blogging and social media allows us to publicly share details of our lives that were previously known only by those very close to us. However, this illusion of honesty and intimacy actually allows for deception on a grand scale (intentional or not).
Most people want to be thought well of by others. That’s perfectly natural and there’s no shame in it. We put our best faces forward, whether at school, work, with our friends, or online. Of course we don’t want to plaster unflattering photos of ourselves everywhere or shout our failings from the rooftops.
Social media allows each individual to carefully craft their image, and essentially be their own PR. To show themselves and their life not as they are, but as they wish they could be: in the best possible light. Some people take this further than others: while some share only the good in their lives and omit the bad, others blatantly lie.
This online curating and faking has caused a pandemic of jealousy and widespread feelings of inadequacy. Many people have written about this modern phenomenon – how everyone thinks everyone else’s lives are better than their own.
Judging from blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest, everyone seems prettier, smarter, more successful, more popular, more fashionable, wealthier, better traveled, and has their life figured out. Except you, right?
This is particularly damaging for teens who measure themselves in relation to their peers.
You know that it took you 52 selfies in eight different types of lighting and various camera angles before you finally found one you were happy with, but somehow you imagine that everyone else on your instagram feed just took one quick little snap and miraculously looks flawless. Of course you’re going to think everyone else is better looking! You didn’t get to see the 51 unflattering photos everyone else takes of themselves first.
And that’s not even mentioning photo filters and Photoshop.
Blogs play a huge role in this, too. When all you see of someone’s life are the highlights, it’s only natural to assume that that’s what their life looks like 100% of the time.
That’s simply not true. Everyone has a unique life and though some people endure greater hardships than others, nobody has a perfect, charmed life. Absolutely everybody struggles with something and has a list of insecurities as long as their arm.
That long-legged teen who lives in a gorgeous NY penthouse and seems to buy a new designer handbag or shoes every week probably has busy divorced parents who neglect her and give her loads of money to assuage their guilt. But she doesn’t share that last part on her blog.
Even Miranda Kerr, whose body practically everyone admires, photoshops her waist smaller on instagram. If that isn’t proof that everyone has insecurities and wishes they could change something about themselves, then I don’t know what is.
As a blogger myself, I don’t want to perpetuate an illusion of perfection. It does nobody any favours to pretend to have it all. All it does is make people feel bad about themselves, and I don’t want to contribute to anyone’s unhappiness. I’m certainly not perfect, and while am I very fortunate in many ways, my life isn’t perfect either.
Heck, I wish I always looked the way I look on my blog! I certainly do not “wake up like this”. It’s just a combination of makeup, hair styling, flattering lighting, and clever posing.
I try to keep my blog as positive a space as possible, where I document and share good experiences I’ve had and little things that make me happy. I’m not suddenly going to start posting rants or talking about things I wish I could change about myself. But while you skim through posts about nice restaurants I’ve been to or beautiful things I’ve bought, I want you to remember that I’m human, and have days when I look in the mirror and cringe, or feel so wretched that I can’t bear to face the world.
Same as everyone else.
(Photo credit here.)