Social media has become notorious for making users feel inadequate in both lifestyle and fitness achievements. When celebrities post “perfect” pictures of themselves or a photograph from an expensive vacation, many of their followers often compare themselves to that celebrity. Even on a smaller scale, people tend to compare themselves to friends or acquaintances in their community. This is due to the lack of reality that social media platforms convey. They feel inadequate because they’re comparing themselves to an image that is fabricated, staged or a best-of. Among my peers, Instagram is arguably the biggest platform that is used to compare oneself to others due to its popularity over other social media platforms, besides Snapchat, which is arguably more like texting.
One editing app popular for Instagram users is Facetune. The app gives the option to edit photos on a small scale, like whitening teeth or blurring out a blemish, or on a larger scale like completely distorting the real shape of the person’s body. Although a person may use this app on their own photos, he or she often inherently believes that other people’s photos are natural and unedited even though it is likely that their peers are editing their imperfections also. There are even YouTube videos, mainly targeted at teenage girls, that teach viewers how to edit their body, pose correctly, and use the best filters to gain the maximum amount of likes.
Although recently there has been a body positivity movement on Instagram, these posts do not always garner positive reactions. For example, a fitness model might post a picture of an “unflattering” angle or sitting down to show that their stomach rolls when they sit, just like normal people! However, this can make their followers angry because they feel berated by models saying even they can look fat in bad angles, while their followers may feel that their body never looks the way they want it to. Some people feel as if these fitness models have no right to spread the message of “loving your body,” when it’s easy to love your body if it is considered society’s ideal, an oftentimes unrealistic standard.
It is imperative to take note of the fact that social media is not real life and should not be treated as such. Don’t focus on comparing yourself to other people and especially don’t compare yourself to other people’s social media feeds!