Web and Mobile Communication Blog

Instagram = Insta-sad?

Hello beautiful earthlings!

As said before, I will be addressing the issue (perhaps not?) of Instagram. As much as Facebook, I am a very frequent user of Instagram as well. One difference about Instagram is that you HAVE to post a photo or an Instagram Story. Based off the last blog post, Facebook Makes Us Feel Ugly, I think we can establish the fact that visual is one of the biggest factor in low self-esteem. Instagram is nothing but visual. But does Instagram actually promote body issues among men and women?

Lets first talk about how Instagram actually creates a false illusion of the “perfect life” we see every day. The first thing we notice about the social media platform is filters. Lots and lots of filters. It’s insane how a simple black and white filter can change how one person looks. I used to hate my selfies until one day, I discovered how the sunset filter actually made me look more attractive in one of the selfies I took. Seriously, my freshman year braces were not entirely visible and my skin tone definitely looked more alive. Thank goodness for the new angle I just discovered that hides my chipmunk cheeks! This false illusion I have created of myself probably made someone else feel bad about themselves. If Facebook made people insecure over what they see, what difference does Instagram make?

There are definitely reports of insecurities caused by Instagram as Cosmopolitan has pointed out. Below is one example:

“I’m abroad right now and even though it looks like I’m having the time of my life, I’m obviously not posting about the difficult times that I’ve had here. I’m not saying my self-esteem is greatly damaged because of Instagram, but I definitely slip into moments of negative thoughts because I compare myself to everyone else.” —Natalie

In 2015, a popular Australian Instagram model, Essena O’Neil, quit Instagram. A person with more than half a million Instagram followers had to quit because she felt judged and insecure. 

“I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it,” she wrote of her first-ever post on Instagram, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes. “It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation … Now marks the day I quit all social media and focus on real life projects.” – Essena O’Neill

These instances are simply just how personal use of Instagram caused body issues. Now lets look at how other people’s post actually affect how one perceives themselves. Cosmopolitan pointed out a quote from Gabby,

“Seeing things that another person has makes me envious, wishing I had what that person has. That can be anything from their lifestyle or body image. Seeing a girl constantly post photos of her body and how she works out makes me feel bad about my self-image and changes my perception of myself.” —Gabby

These are quotes from college students and being one myself, I can’t help but admit to how Instagram posts affect me similarly as well. Even after understanding that there were probably Photoshop applications (which will be mentioned a few weeks later) used in the photos, I still find myself envious. To top it off, while I am scrolling through Instagram, there has been an increasing number of sponsored ads showing.

It can be sponsored ad about tea-tox or make up. When is a better time to make people feel like they need to buy health and product than when they are at the lowest point of self-esteem? This is where social media sets a beauty standard.

Posts from the people around you makes one feel a need to compare. This comparison leads to setting a beauty standard based on social media.  To reach that beauty standard, our insecure minds and bodies will feel the need to purchase these “health and beauty” products that could perhaps (or perhaps not) change our body. This, again, fuels social media’s beauty standards. It’s a tireless cycle, really.

Perhaps Instagram isn’t all that bad. Instagram has already been a platform for different communities to come together. #PerfectlyMe was created on Instagram as a way to combat self-harm and body issues. It celebrates the strength and diversity of communities that have formed on the platform since 2010.

Instagram has created a tool that allow friends who suspects someone who is possibly going through a tough time to seek help. Support resources are provided by Instagram for a user to seek attention. This does not only include needing a second party to activate. Based on a user’s post and searches on Instagram, the social media platform will identify when one person might need help and thus suggests support.

As much as Instagram has its downsides in keeping you down, just make sure you are on the right side of it. #PerfectlyMe Don’t let all these “New year, New Body” talk influence you. Don’t let 2017 make you feel like you need to change. Change because you want to, not because someone made you feel like you have to. Lastly, always remember to stay healthy. HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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