I’m a college student in the year of 2014: a year not ruled by the celebrities we see on television but by the celebrities of Instagram, the celebrities of the blogosphere. These young women who spend inordinate amounts of time in nature and in Nordstrom, a photographer just there for kicks. Ice cream cones and waffles with a body fit for the runway. Kisses here, kisses there. French words but elle ne comprend pas.
In case I’m interested in purchasing her outfit I can look to the bottom of the blog post for a link to where each item was purchased. Assuming I have the money for such exorbitantly priced clothes and constant root touch-ups, these links could come in handy. The outfits and lifestyle posts could serve as inspiration; they could remind me that every girl is beautiful!
But they don’t. They don’t do any of these things.
If anything, they remind girls of what they can’t be and what they’ll never be. That we don’t all have the face of an angel and “legs for days.” The posts are not inspiring, but redundant in their own redundancy and in their unabashed but somehow justified narcissism that does nothing to inspire readers but everything to exacerbate their insecurities. The artificiality of this type of social media is seemingly obvious to some but incredibly damaging to others. It seems that not enough popular blogs or Instagram accounts portray the innocuous facets of life as well as the picturesque but that many serve as avenues for pride, materialism and vanity — all of it inexplicably but nevertheless justified.
We’re addicted to comparing ourselves — not only to an artificial aesthetic but also to an impossible standard that teaches us we are defined by our image. That we are defined by our bodies, our social lives and our possessions rather than by our spirits and good deeds. It’s an illusory standard that has us feigning perfection when we’re really just an imperfect people, trying to become more like our Savior.
Elizabeth Genevieve Barton
To read Elizabeth’s opinion in full, visit her blog here.