It’s 22:05, I opened my Instagram and surfed through the most recent photos displayed on the Explore Feed. It is a familiar scene: gorgeous girls in perfect shape posing to the camera (among cute animals and kids).
We have been in search of “authentic” travel photos by women to feature on our account, representing women from different backgrounds, but struggled with the seemingly easy task.
Don’t get me wrong, we do not hate those ‘perfect’ photos. They are absolutely wonderful, but a world filled of them is far from reality and has painted the wrong picture… Just based on this snapshot, it seems like we live in a world of those girls, and only those girls travel! We start to ask the question: do we need to look fabulous to travel and to share? Of course we do not. And here’s why ‘picture perfect’ social media can be troublesome:
Is there a beauty standard?
There should not be one standard for being beautiful. As we travel around the world, we know people from different cultures view beauty differently. But as the popularity of Western media rapidly spreading, we see the influence of it worldwide (a perceived beauty in China in 1960s v.s. now).
What’s more, we are all individuals, and there’s no standard whatsoever – as long as we are ourselves and confident, that’s beautiful. And that’s the beauty needs to be shared: being different, being individual, being loving and confident!
But some of it is actually good: being fit. You do see lots of outdoors and fitness posts. Only they should not be about getting the so-called perfect body (/slim), but a healthy one which we are comfortable and confident in.
Depression haunted social media generation
A recent survey revealed that regular usage of Instagram is associated with low self-esteem, poor body image and lack of sleep. Unfortunately, it does not seem to make us happier, but quite the opposite – it causes depression, especially among young women. No wonder! 5 minutes in, I started to question my body! Thank god that my husband does not use Instagram, or I may have him point to one of these perfect bodies and asking me ‘why don’t you make some effort and look like that?'. It can even lead to a nasty divorce :P
Life’s viewed through the lens
“Happiness is only real when shared”, the boom of social media has given it a new meaning. Many people nowadays do things only because they can be shared. Last week when I was in Croatia, I hit the thunderstorm. I watched a group of girls ran into a super market, then started Facebook Live and one of them jumped into the rain and started to spin. Could she have done it if it could not be shared?
Earlier this year, I was in a beautiful beach in Costa Rica, and during the 2 hours we were there, we watched a pretty girl taking photos in different poses for a full hour and then left. I am not saying that’s not the right thing to do. If she’s really happy about it, and remembers the time, sure. But some of us do care more about what’s shown in through the lens (of others) than through our own eyes. Just choose whatever suits you the best.
Social media have empowered each of us to be a broadcasting channel. It is up to us what we present to the world, and what we like and follow. At Solocal, we choose to be authentic and encourage diversity. What’s your choice? Just follow your heart, not others.
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