Updated: Oct 29, 2020
Insecurities. We all have them, we all deal with them, and we all confront them differently. We are constantly fed information and imagery of others whether we are actually interested or not. The culture of social media and news seems to make us feel like we need to follow the people that we never talk to, may not really like, or even think about outside of the social media bubble.
Separating real life from the imaginary world of social media may be the answer to avoiding the horrific comparison culture.
Taking the necessary time out of your day for self-love seems to be a chore, while mindlessly watching the fabricated lives of others through a lens is fun and valuable? Why do we find value in following those that do not add value to our lives personally? This is because of the comparison culture that we face every single day.
What is Comparison Culture?
Comparison Culture is a mindset that is seemingly unavoidable in the world of social media. When looking at images and videos of people’s daily activities, purchases, vacation photos and even general opinions, we feel some subconscious pressure to support, conform, or agree. Social media is an edited version of life revolving around the bias and opinions of others. We edit photos, we edit news clips, we edit our bodies, and we edit our life online because there is nothing standing in our way.
Because we are constantly seeing an edited version of the lives of over 2,000 people a day, we can’t help but compare. Comparisons may not always be made in a way that is negative towards our own bodies or ideas, but negative towards others as well. (which is also not so good)
The BIG Problem
What is created as a result is a society based on judgement. As a nation we are striving to achieve a community where people don't judge others based on their physical features, economic status, or beliefs. However, we created exactly what we wished to abolish without even knowing it!
We created a world where publicly attacking others for their opinions is accepted and supported. Shaming others for the lack of grandeur at their wedding or the cheap outfit they were wearing is common. Breaking friendships and relationships due to differing beliefs shown on the internet is toxic, yet more common than ever before! The foundation of our society should be based on acceptance and is preached as such, yet our actions are actually achieving the opposite!
Today we have such a hyper focus on avoiding putting a person into a box or stereotyping different communities. Whether it be the clean beauty community, sororities, fraternities, political groups, or physical communities around the globe, people will judge them in a particular way because of the imagery that is constantly in our faces. Because of this hyper-focus, we have actually created more of a segregation and divide between people to fit into a certain box or narrative. Today, one photo or video can define you for the rest of your life in a category that did not exist prior. One photo or video, true, false, or just an act of poor judgement will put you into another box in our society.
How does this relate to your body Image?
The majority of social media users are going to be portraying themselves in the best possible light. Seeing a world of humans without imperfections, smooth and toned legs, and perfect skin is not going to help body image struggles. We all strive for perfection and to perfectly fit into society. If we keep believing that society is represented by social media, no one will ever fit in! It is purely unattainable. If we can approach social media in a lighter way that acts as a resource instead of a guide for life, we will all be more successful in our search for confidence physically and emotionally.
Avoiding the comparison culture is tough, but taking breaks from social media for one day a week may be a way to reconnect with the real world, your real hobbies, and find what matters most in your life!
Jealousy is Human Nature. Social Media Creates False Jealousy
Seeing others’ “success” may make you feel defeated, farther from reaching your goals, or distracted from the “now.” Break free from the negative feeling you put onto yourself because their posts are showing only what they want you to see. Their success did not come without failure, struggle, and hurt that they are not displaying.
Because social media has done amazing things for the growth of communities, awareness, and general connections, it is not going anywhere and shouldn’t. In order to use the platform in a non-destructive manner, we must understand and accept that it's a false reality that creates false jealousy as well. There is no need to feel jealous if it is not truly real.
Don’t Act Blind When You Can See
We are sucked into believing that the opinions of the masses are represented through what we are seeing on Twitter or Instagram for example. The truth of the matter is that this online world and the people that we follow are a small representation of opinions, trends, and lifestyles that are curated with an agenda in mind. Whether it be companies pushing a certain trend to catch on, or silencing the “unpopular” opinions of others, there is always an edited source that we are consuming.
Do not let the opinions of others cloud your ability to conduct outside research, make informed choices, and live the confident life that you have always wanted. Because social media can do as much damage as it does good, it is up to us to rise above the temptations of jealousy and conformity.
The “ideal” body type was decided through media influences. Who are they to tell you that being tall is in? Who are they to tell you that big lips are more beautiful? Realizing that you are truly being influenced is difficult to come to terms with and actually scary, but maybe it's time to social distance from social media. Maybe taking a break from the ideas of others will allow your own ideas to come forth.
You can break free from conformity and embrace your beauty! You are beautiful in the eyes of many whether social media agrees or not! Taking power away from an outside force may give you part of your life back that you never knew you needed the most!