Navigating life accompanied by Instagram Models
Instagram can be a place of highs and lows. Lately, however, I've come to question whether whatever empowerment that comes through expression via this digital medium truly outweighs the psychological harm that comes with upward comparisons.
Upward Comparison: comparing yourself to someone you believe is better than you in certain or all areas.
Downward Comparison: comparing yourself to someone you believe is lesser than you.
Since people only post their “postworthy” photos with curated angles, filters, editing apps, and choose the one best photo out of 30 "bad" ones, Instagram is a haven for users to compare themselves to others. Since these photos are striking, most users make upward comparisons, leading to envy and feelings of insufficiency.
Personally, when I see Kendall Jenner or Bella Hadid’s posts, I think “wow, she’s stunning” but in the back of my mind I still see them as celebrities. It feels like models have become a separate and more superior category of the human race. When I see Faith Schroder, a girl my age and "insta famous," I feel an imense amount of pressure to look like her. Obsessing over her body, and number of followers is the catalyst for the downward spiral of comparisons I start making between her and myself.
Celebrity status is not required in this new generation of Instagram models. It can feel like a slim body in revealing clothing is the key ingredient to becoming well known on this platform. Although many Instagram models come from a famous family or get scouted in public, some get signed with highly acclaimed modelling agencies through overnight virality. Take IMG’s new Instagram hashtag #WLYG (We Love Your Genes) which has has started a frenzy of girls posting on Instagram in hopes of being scouted by the mega modelling agency.
How odd is it to live in an age where I’ve had to consciously remind myself that it isn’t the norm to be a famous teenage model with 235k – 599k followers on Instagram.
What really matters? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (or something along those lines - thx Thomas Jefferson??) In any case, it certainly isn't a set number of followers, a certain body shape, weight, or fame. In the end, will a cookie cutter body that fits in the box of todays standards make me happy? No.