Social media validation hinders self-esteem

The rise of Instagram has taken over the lives of many youths of today and has made an impact on the self-esteem of women as a result.

Earlier this year, Essena O’Neill, 18-year-old Instagram star, went on a viral rampage about the pressures of social media and the anxiety the “perfect” Instagram photo has caused her. She revealed exactly what it took for her to post the perfect selfie, including multiple poses, angles and editing apps and has since quit all forms of social media. In a society absorbed with image and an unreachable beauty standard, the struggle is all too real for young women in the midst of adolescence.

In 2009, at 13 years old, my social media presence consisted of an outdated Myspace profile with a filter from an iMac photo booth slapped over a low-quality photo. I was barely figuring out what Twitter was and Kylie Jenner was still wondering why cameramen were documenting her entire life.

The launch of Instagram in October 2010 created a platform for people to share moments of their lives with friends. It provided a platform for celebrities to connect with their millions of fans and thrust a massive amount of pressure upon the shoulders of adolescents.

Here we are in 2015: 13-year-olds are armed with iPhones; they aim to look flawless in selfies and idolize the looks of Kylie Jenner. Instead of searching for any form of confidence within themselves, young women are seeking validation through the number of likes on a selfie that has probably spent a significant amount of time under the proverbial Photoshop knife. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who is confident in who they are, but today’s standards have put thorns into the path of self-discovery.

The truth is, Jenner has modified her look with the use of wigs, makeup and lip fillers. A woman who has yet to figure out that some beauty standards are naturally unobtainable will lay her eyes on an edited photo and wonder why she does not look the way her favorite celebrity does. Most photos have been edited to hide imperfections but when it comes down to it, we all have imperfections. Celebrities, like Jenner, have teams of makeup artists and hair stylists come into their homes and get them ready for the day, every single day.

Don’t get me wrong—I love spending time scrolling through the ‘gram, but the odds that I’ll spend hours trying to perfect my selfie game? Incredibly slim. Am I guilty of the occasional selfie? Absolutely. Some days a girl is really feeling her look.

My mother always said, “Use makeup to enhance not to disguise.” The problem with Instagram is photos have the potential to instill envy into the hearts of those who see it. In the end, we’re all human. If you’re going to edit your photos, keep it real and don’t take Instagram so seriously.

About Hannah Tamimi


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