Insta-Fake, The Unnatainable Perfection That Haunts Our Lives

by Hank Moody on June 22, 2015 - 11:28am

Social media is extremely hazardous. Even though many people who use it aren’t even aware of the affect it is having on them, and society in general, it is becoming more and more detrimental to the self-esteem of its users. In this post I will be talking specifically about Instagram, which is a social media app where users post pictures and their followers are able to like and comment on these pictures. Being a user of the site for the past few years I’ve noticed how much the posts on the app affect the self-esteem of users. The photos posted by celebrities have an even greater influence on us because we tend to look up to them more. The problem with Instagram is that people show you pictures on what they want you to see, which is not necessarily pictures that accurately depict their lives and looks. Because of this users are starting to become more materialistic, narcissistic and self-conscious.

Some of the main culprits of this are members of the Kardashian family, notably Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. These two are known for posting somewhat over the top photos, which have clearly been edited or manipulated in some form. The main problem is not that the pictures are edited because almost anyone no matter how famous they are can edit a picture to look a certain way, the main problem is that their followers sometimes fail to recognize that the picture is being manipulated they start to think that it is normal and possible to look like these celebrities. This is extremely detrimental to the self-esteem of the followers, especially girls, because they strive to look exactly like Kim or Kylie without knowing that Kim or Kylie don’t actually look like that themselves. This type of impossible perfection puts a lot of stress on women because they start to think that they are valuable only if they look like these celebrities and any other qualities they possess such as humor and intelligence don’t matter.

The fact of the matter is that Kim and Kylie barely look like themselves either. Kylie has been photographed on the street days after posting a photo looking almost unrecognizable (White). She has also been accused several times of having lip injections and breasts implants, which, if true, are absolutely ridiculous for a seventeen-year-old girl to have. These allegations create so much drama around the Internet and Hollywood, which only adds to the number of viewers who see the pictures. However, with role model’s like Kim it’s not that surprising to see why Kylie has turned out this way. Her half sister’s claim to fame was a sextape and she has been known for posting shocking photographs such as her fully naked spread in paper magazine called “ Break the Internet”. I thought she couldn’t outdo herself but I was once again proven wrong when she announced that she would be releasing a book called “Selfish” which has a different “selfie” of her on every page. And we wonder why society keeps becoming more insecure and narcissistic by the second…

 

The family seems to thrive off of drama and they seem to love any reaction they receive, good or bad, as long as they get attention. Personally, I find it disturbing how the world focuses on Kylie Jenner’s lip fillers instead of acknowledging real problems such as children in Africa who are water deprived and dying by the second. However, in today’s society no one seems to care about anything that they can’t fix by typing on a social media account behind a computer screen. What disturbs me as well is the number of adolescent girls who idealize these two, among many other culprits, and begin to hate themselves because of these impossible beauty standards. According to a survey conducted by Dove, 54% of women agree that when it comes to how they look they are their biggest critique (Fleming). Most of this stems from the media, especially Instagram these days which is becoming more and more prevalent and widespread. My hope is that society will stop idolizing people like the Kardashians who have done nothing positive for the world except pose nude and star in a mediocre reality T.V Show and instead start to find role models who have actually impacted the world in a positive way, not just by looking good in Instagram pictures.

 

To be honest, as a heterosexual male, the pictures obviously appeal to me because like other males I enjoy seeing attractive women. But what people like Kim and Kylie do makes me extremely angry even if they do look very attractive in the pictures. The reason it makes me angry is because they are not actually being themselves and what I am seeing in these pictures is fake and unattainable, they don’t even look half as good in person than they do in their Instagram photos. It is extremely deceiving and once again unhealthy for the female viewers who think these looks are attainable. I’ll be waiting for the day when filters and photoshop no longer exist and all you can see on Instagram and social media are people for who they truly are and what they really look like. Unfortunately, it only seems to be going in the opposite direction with everyone becoming faker and more materialistic.

 

                                                     

                                                       Works Cited

Fleming, Olivia. "'Why Don't I Look Like Her?': How Instagram Is Ruining Our Self Esteem." ELLE. N.p., 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 22 June 2015.

White, Chelsea. "Makeup 911! A Fresh Faced Kylie Jenner Reveals Her REAL Lips after She Is Pulled over by the Police without Her Usual Layers of Liner." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 19 Nov. 2014. Web. 22 June 2015.

Comments

This is a great topic that definitely needs recognition from everyone that engages with social media. The issue with social media networks like Instagram is very similar to the emergence of Hollywood and film, in which unattainable body appearances seems to be one of the most significant ramifications. Whereas film only portrays high beauty ideals, Instagram and powerful celebrities (like the Kardashians) advocate not only impossible beauty standards, but as well as ridiculous materialistic possessions. In turn, this does contribute to narcissism and insecurity among youth and others on Instagram. Also, I like how you recognized the reality of Instagram posing as a mask for people that are too insecure about how their lives really are. In other words, Instagram allows people to hide behind a facade of alcohol, designer bags and material gains.

This was truly a great post, but as for further improvements, I would definitely recommend that you focus on other celebrities and other portrayals (instead of beauty ideals). For instance, if you touched on Dan Bilzerian and his depiction of masculinity on Instagram. In addition, I found it to be quite unclear as to what ethical framework you chose… Other than that, most definitely a great paper, very relevant in today’s internet-driven society.

I understand the article’s main message, I do agree that instagram has a negative effect on society. Instagram is negatively affecting its users in two distinct ways which are both stress related. One being, users may become very anxious when posting pictures on their instagram, it can definitely be stressful for some people who may feel sad if they do not get enough likes on their pictures. Two, instagram users may not be aware that they are idolizing certain socialites who post pictures with edited bodies, making them look perfect. Because of this problem, users might try to be like the socialites in the instagram pictures, and might become sad if they fail since it is quite hard to be exactly like a photoshopped picture. Or, for the same problem, the user might then only want to pursue, and be attracted to, people in real life that look like the socialite in the picture. The user may then become sad when faced with reality, people in real life do not look like people in photoshopped pictures, and might even face difficulties when it comes to sexual relations. There is psychologically related issues that can arise from these two highlighted problems. Mental health is a very important aspect of an individual's life, and these two problems of instagram can definitely mess with someone’s mental health. To elaborate on this I am going to discuss an example for both the first problem and the second problem of instagram.

For the first, let’s say I am someone who is often stressed, and on top of this, I am very insecure about my instagram posts because I need likes to boost my self confidence and be happy. So I post a picture and I only get 1 like. Then I post another and I only get 2 likes. This keeps happening, meanwhile my peers that I am following, who are in my class, are getting hundreds of likes. So I become extremely stressed because I feel like there can be nothing worse in life than getting such a little amount of likes. I feel like this is a terrible life experience and I am so humiliated. I feel socially rejected, I feel like I am no longer relative. Because of all these feelings that come from instagram, I develop a mood disorder known as depression. For instagram I think the easiest solution to this problem would be to eliminate likes. So people would still be allowed to gain as many followers as possible, but likes would no longer exist. Personally I do not think this will ever happen. Therefore, to treat depression, an individual should go to his or her GP and get a referral for a psychologist, I would recommend speaking to a psychologist first, even if your GP prescribes you anti-depressants, it is always better to get an opinion of a psychologist and hey, even a second psychologist’s opinion can’t hurt. Early intervention of the mental health problem is always best.

For the second problem of instagram, an example of this is, let’s say I am someone who is unaware that the socialite I’m in love with is editing all his pictures to make his body perfect, I might become stressed when not being able to get a body like he has in his pictures. This stress might eventually make me sad to the point where I become depressed after trying so hard to become something impossible. I don’t think instagram could do anything about this problem, as people in this day and age should be allowed to post whatever types of pictures they want, edited or not. So the treatment here would be the same as the treatment recommended in the first problem. An example of the next part of problem two that I discussed is, let's say I am in love with a famous girl's perfect body on instagram, and I am unaware that it is fake, I then start to reject pretty girls because they do not match my criteria for pretty, as I believe that pretty is actually some fake photoshopped picture. This would result in me feeling better than everyone, and thinking that I deserve my idea of perfection and nothing less. This can eventually turn into a psychological disorder called narcissistic personality disorder which is described as a pervasive pattern of grandiosity. Imagine a world where a guy rejects a beautiful girl because she does not look like the photoshopped socialite he loves, well that’s definitely the result of instagram on some people in the world we live in today. Treatment for people with narcissistic personality disorder is talk therapy, which is psychotherapy emphasizing conversation between the therapist (usually a psychologist) and the patient.

I just have some comments to make on the poster’s analysis/reflection of the article. I do not think he has any right to judge Kylie Jenner getting lip injections or breast implants. The poster says “She has also been accused several times of having lip injections and breasts implants, which, if true, are absolutely ridiculous for a seventeen-year-old girl to have”, my friend, who are you to judge. Also, the poster says “people like Kim and Kylie do make me extremely angry” and his reason is “because they are not actually being themselves”. My friend, who are you to say they’re not being themselves... You don’t know them… And last, you say “I’ll be waiting for the day when filters and photoshop no longer exist”, this will never happen, which is why I write this commentary, outlining how instagram users can cope if they are faced with the two problems of instagram.

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