Editing Our Reality

Instagram is a massive and daily influence on many of the 300 million users’ lives. Instagram provides a platform that strictly contains photographs and interaction is limited to comments. The endless filters and effects possible to alter your photographs to your liking creates a warped depiction of reality. Rather than experiencing a moment, someone may be more interested in capturing a photograph for the “perfect” Instagram to relay how incredible their life is. in reality, these photos are slivers and staged creations of what one’s reality truly is.

I recently read an article investigating the effects Instagram has on self-esteem and overall confidence. The article points out that it is hard to scroll through Instagram and not be envious of beautiful pictures posted by people you are following, often causing you to question why your life doesn’t measure up. This promotes an idea in our mind that other people are doing better and are living a more fulfilling life. Many users feel as if they need to maintain an image of themselves and feel the pressure to frequently post a picture just to prove they are having a good time. One’s happiness is no longer measured by your own feelings about your life, but rather how you are appearing on your Instagram page.

The article reminded me of the age-long discussion of self-image and beauty. Young girls are experiencing Instagram and the accompanying feelings of envy, causing them to question their own self-image. The detrimental effects of negative self-image has been explored in our Keywords essays as well as The Bluest Eye(Keywords for Children’s Literature, Coats). Young girls are being exposed to these notions of beauty and self-image at an incredibly young age, planting the seed for negative self-image. In The Bluest Eye, the main characters feel less-than other girls because of the color of their skin, which they are taught from a young age is not as pretty as having white skin. Young girls using Instagram are indirectly being told they are not as attractive as other girls based on the number of likes their photos receive, causing them to constantly compare themselves to others who are allegedly prettier than they are just based on a number.

5 thoughts on “Editing Our Reality”

  1. I completely agree with your idea that instagram and other forms of social media are framing the world around us. It is very difficult for girls, especially young teens, to look on social media and be excluded from what other girls are doing. This leads to a lack of self confidence and a degraded self image. What young girls don’t realize is that instagram and social media are framing people’s lives in a specific way when in reality all of that could be false.

  2. Your post was very eye-opening to me becuase I have expressed a lot of the feelings you discussed about when looking through Instagram. When I see people posting a picture of them on a trip or at a beach with perfect hair and perfect lighting, I notice the 300 likes and am like damn, I wish I could look like that. Like you mentioned in your post, I take note of my Instagram and make sure I post a photo every couple of days so people see I’m up to fun stuff. I also am guilty of making sure I get the shot and not exactly enjoy the experience. In society we constantly want to prove ourselves and with Instagram, making sure we posted a #selfiesunday or a #throwbackthursday. We want to show our followers changes in our appearances like a new hair cut or lost weight. We throw our images out into the world for acceptance and likes and I see now that that really is an issue. Very inspiring and relatable post.

  3. I think comparison on social media speaks not only to young girls but college age girls as well. I remember at the beginning of my freshman year questioning “Am I doing this college thing right?” because other girls Instagrams looked like they were having so much fun. It wasn’t until I started to look beyond the picture and realize that the moment they capture wasn’t even that great in reality. I would witness a certain moment first hand and then see it on Instagram later and think, “wait that looks way better on Insta than it was in person.” Social media leads to so much comparison and sadly the comparison is rarely even to reality.

  4. I don’t think you could have said it any better— I completely agree. I think this could be an interesting topic to think about in terms of Bernstein’s essay, too! Perhaps we could also think of a lot of teenagers and young adults nowadays as co-producers of this “editing reality” culture, considering how much time we spend on social media, how much some of us are obsessed with what people think of us on these platforms, and most importantly, how actively we take part in this culture. I definitely consider this “editing” culture as not only an extremely unhealthy obsession that harms our self-esteem and perception of ourselves, but also a harmful, toxic culture that perpetuates this superficial standard of beauty.

  5. Instagram is definitely one of my favorite social media apps, but I totally agree with your ideas about Instagram. People feel the need to take the perfect pictures and edit them with the perfect filters to show the world how perfect their life is. I definitely went through a phase where I would be at an event and ask people that I knew, but wasn’t necessarily friends with to take pictures with me to make it look like I had a lot of friends. The truth is, I have a few close friends and I finally accepted that. I realized I don’t need to show my followers (whoI’m not friends with most of) how many friends I have because I am perfectly comfortable having the few close friends that I do have. I am much more satisfied now with showing off my real friends.

Leave a Reply