It's 8:56 a.m. on a random Wednesday. I've been up since 6. I worked out, shared my token Instagram photo at the gym, hash-tagged it and even gave a shout out to the business I supported by wearing their leggings (it's a small AK business and I love their product!) I've also gone in and done my "real job" of posting for small, local businesses on their Social Media sites.
I realize that I'm very much a part of the social & online world. I wouldn't be Mockingjay Press without it and I'm very thankful for all of the opportunities it has presented. Given my job as a Weight Watchers Ambassador, it's essentially my job as an influencer to be social. Sharing on social tells my followers and friends about my journey, my real life and the daily things I do to stay on plan (or not!). My social presence has become a hodge podge of being a small business owner, being a small business advocate, being a healthy person...and dogs. Because, let's face it, they're too cute not to share.
But lately I've started to feel a bit off about the culture we're cultivating with all the filtering, the angling and the reality of the "unrealistic expectations."
We all want to be seen in our best light. We all want to make the world believe that we have our shit together, no matter how many irons we have in the fire. But didn't this all start originally as a way to show that we were REAL people? It seems that the original intent has been lost on some. Now, the folks I follow - meaning, my WW family, my real family, my friends and some others that have piqued my interest - this isn't referring to you. If I didn't like the things you shared, I certainly wouldn't be following you. I love the folks I follow - they inspire me with recipes, outfits, haircuts and just being REAL.
Alright, I'll get down to the real purpose of this post. There are a few people that I guess you could say that I "spy" on via Instagram. We'll call them Exhibit A & Exhibit B. These people - I will openly admit - get way too much of my headspace than they should. I don't even know one, and the other has been an unwilling part of my life, and the root of some of my anxiety for many years. I guess it's that whole "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." But, I also wanted to know WHY others were drawn to these two women like magnets.
Well, I can tell you, the Instagram world didn't prove to be much help. Upon "investigation" I found that both of them had extremely narcissistic feeds.
Exhibit A essentially has proclaimed herself a model, and proceeds to post nearly-nude photos on the daily. I mean, we're talking sizzling stuff here. She's got a great body, one I'll never have - which I'm completely ok with. But, she consistently spells things wrong, posts photos of herself with hashtags & sentences that literally make no sense in relation to the photo. She has over 16k followers. Yeah. So, we can all tell ourselves that people want to idolize REAL women, but I'm here to tell you, it's not entirely the truth. I'm sure many of her followers (based on the vulgar comments in the feed) are men, and trolls but still. I know she has a husband, and a little girl that she's raising. I mean, to each their own, but at the same time...really? Is that really the attention that you want to bring to your family?
Exhibit B is a recent add to Instagram. She doesn't have a ton of followers, likely because she's burnt a lot of bridges in her social scene, but nearly every single photo is the exact same pose - a close up selfie. While there are a few others sprinkled in, I kid you not that the facial pose and expression is identical. No matter what the "topic" of the day is. "All work and no play" selfie is the same as "I'm so tired from working all night" selfie. Neither actually relay the point of the post, only that the picture is usually FBR (filtered beyond reality). The posts get likes and comments. Nothing earth-shattering, but likes and comments nonetheless. Now, I know the personality and character of this person and that might cloud some of my bias, but really? Again, what is the end game here? I know this person has a fiance but I'd never know that as an outsider looking in. Aren't these the things in life that we want to share about?
I've been through enough counseling in my day to throw a few "clinical opinions" out there about these two women. They're likely starved for attention, bored, and needing validation. One for working so hard on her body, and the other, well, likely just the attention satisfies a small bit of her need.
I guess at the end of the "investigation" I'm still left with the question of WHY? Why do we still have people out there that only feel like the superficial "them" is the one the world wants to see? I thought we were moving (at a fast pace, no less) towards self-love and self-care? What are we missing in society to keep these women, and likely many more, thinking that the only good they have to show is an unrealistic version of themselves - be it nearly nude or filtered like crazy?
I would love to move towards a world where people can feel empowered in their awesome, without the need for filters, animal noses, nudity and the like. Where being strong isn't narcissistic and being narcissistic is no longer viewed as strong. Where vapid "fake" profiles are traded for real conversations, real pictures of laughter and real friendships. Where "comment conversations," social media manipulation and an absence of decorum no longer has a magnetic draw.