Empowerment Issues

The Facade of Social Media

By: Charmaine Griffin

Imagine this: It’s a Saturday afternoon, you just happen to have some free time so you pick up your phone and you scroll through your go to social media channel (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube). You admire all the beautiful faces, flawless makeup and laid hair as you wonder to yourselves how these women manage to look so glam and live busy lives.

How do you feel? Suddenly unpretty? That you need to fix something about yourself? Or that you’ll never measure up to the women you admire?Well, here’s some reality. We all know that everything that glitters is not gold. Rihanna recently did an interview for Vanity Fair in which she discussed a lot of the facade fame brings.

She noted that many people assume her personality is exactly like her stage persona, when in fact it’s the opposite. The author opened the article stating that Rihanna was very poised, professional and kind, completely opposite to the brash, man-eating rock star that the media portrays.

Alright, now think about a youtuber, it may take them hours to do makeup and hair, edit and publish the flawless video that you see. Or a popular instagrammer, who could go through numerous photos (and maybe even editing) before publishing that awesome selfie you wish you could take.

Being famous on social media takes work and a bit of magic (makeup, lightening, editing). Even many youtubers say that they don’t look how they look on their channel every single day. Some of the people we admire the most may present a different version of themselves to social media.

A few years ago I lost myself the world of social media. I wanted to compete with the girls who were instafamous. I became wrapped up in likes, comments and filters. Instead of being my authentic self I traded that for someone I didn’t know. I spent hours flipping through Instagram comparing myself to other women and then trying to figure out how I could get on their level. Why? It was like torture to sit there and question my looks against someone else’s and don’t let me get started on reading the comments.

When I would read the comments of other women doing the same thing I was doing in my own mind, it added fuel to the fire. This is also around the time I started my natural hair journey, so it wasn’t as if I was looking at Kim Kardashian’s page religiously.

I was looking at other naturals, fit naturals and women of color that inspired me. They all had perfect lives in pictures, with airbrushed looking skin and waist length hair. I didn’t just want to look at their pictures, I wanted whatever it was they had.

So what was the real issue? The problem with all this is I wasn’t accepting myself. I compared myself to people who were not me. Instead of finding inspiration I found reasons to down myself. Now for you this may not have been the case, but I know all of us have had a moment when we saw someone on social media we loved with a little more than admiration.

Well that led me to a big decision. One year later I decided to get rid of all my social media, except Instagram which I deleted the app on my phone unless I was posting. I restricted myself so that I could find myself. I needed to know who I was and not who I thought I should be.

Now that I am older, I’m glad I made that decision. I have a healthy relationship with social media and I know my own worth, where I don’t feel the need to question it when I see someone who looks great. I say all this to remind us not to get caught up in the hype. You never know what someone has to do to get those flawless videos or pictures, or what their personality is truly like past the smiles and glam. Admire but never compare. Know that who you are is just as special as who they are because in the end it’s really all a made up reality.

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About the Author: Charmaine Griffin is the writer of personal lifestyle blog www.hellocharmaine.com and founder of natural hair collective kollectivekoils

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