Ask anyone how they feel when they look in the mirror and I’m sure not one person will come back and say they are 100% happy with how they look. But currently, girls as young as 17 are having procedures to change the way they look. My concern is what hope do we have for the next generation?
Let’s get real.
Let’s talk about it honestly… social media, body image and worryingly what it can do to a pretty stable, normal self-esteemed adult like myself.
When I think back to myself at 17, I was definitely vulnerable and certainly changed my appearance to suit that of others or at least what was in fashion at the time.
I grew up never feeling pretty, hating my body, constantly comparing myself others who in my eyes were perfect. I never felt like I was good enough and I longed to grow up and change my appearance. Meeting my now ex-boyfriend changed a lot of that – he helped me blossom. He helped me realise I was good enough. He made me feel like an absolute super model throughout our entire relationship (which I am so clearly not) and his love helped me develop into the person I am today.
However, the difference between then and now is that social media was nowhere near as huge as it is now. I often wonder what route I would have taken if it had been, especially what my face would have looked like if I had been injecting collagen into it for 15 years.
More and more teens and young adults are accessing social media every single day in more than one form. 90% of said teens have an account on more than one social media platform. The mentality bred on these sites of having to change how you look to fit in, completely blows my mind. Where is the individuality? Why does everyone conform to look like carbon copies of each other?
There are a vast number of teenagers being regularly exposed to Instagram perfect models and it is toxic. Instagram in particular is one giant advertising platform there to brainwash and exploit us all, and a lot of us – myself included – fall for it time and time again.
We’re obsessed with looking perfect. And when we continuously compare ourselves to these perfect people on Instagram it leaves us feeling inferior, inadequate and a lot of the time it leaves us feeling like we and our lives are not good enough as they are.
One thing to remember, and something I must tell myself, is not to believe all that you see.
No one is posting their failures. No one’s life is perfect and I guarantee every single image you see has been filtered, even if it is just simply finding the right lighting. Influencers, celebs – they all Photoshop their photos. I have seen enough mistakes made to know that not every image is what it seems.
But where does that leave us? I am definitely working on learning to love myself, and I am learning to go about changing the things I’m not so keen on in a healthy way. For me, every day is a constant battle with my body. I know I spend way too much time thinking about how I look, worrying that no one will truly love me for me, and it’s draining. I can be my own worst enemy. Just the other day I compared myself to someone I saw on Instagram and then I realised when I looked a little closer that I was comparing myself to someone who has collagen filler pumped into their face, lips boosted to three times their original size, boobs the size of my head etc. Because the reality is, unless I want to pay to have all of that added to my body, I will never look like her.
Because I look like me.
And I really hope someday I accept that.