Instagram’s influence

Source: Maddi Bazzocco (via Unsplash)

By Rhiannon James

Instagram aims to be a positive platform where people can share their favourite images. How Instagram makes you feel is up to you, it can be a positive platform but it can also be one that leaves you feeling miserable. In my opinion, this depends on who you follow and your self-confidence. If you’re already feeling a bit down about your appearance or your life in general and you come across an influencer’s post that screams perfect, it isn’t going to make you feel any better. In the current social media climate that we live in, there is an intense pressure to look and live a certain way. Instagram has been a key element in enforcing unachievable beauty standards and the image of the “perfect life”.

In order to avoid feeling deflated or “not good enough” after scrolling through Instagram you need to change the way you use social media. Following accounts that present the realities and struggles of daily life is a refreshing change to your feed. Chessie King is an influencer that posts realistic pictures of herself and her body on Instagram in order to combat the trend of comparing yourself to the “perfect body” you see on Instagram. Chessie King aims to project the message that what you see on Instagram is the best parts of someone’s life, therefore it is a waste of your time to compare your real self to the carefully constructed and staged version of someone else. 

It isn’t only appearance that is envied on Instagram but the whole “perfect” lifestyle. The luxurious and lavish getaways and the constant state of happiness that is presented by Instagram users can be damaging to social media users. For example, someone could post about the amazing new job they’ve secured, but they wouldn’t have shown the hard work and many disappointing job interviews that came before their success. Instagram is a business for influencers, and it is often forgotten that the accounts we follow on Instagram are real people with struggles and worries just like everyone else, and the “perfect life” they’re presenting isn’t a reality. If you catch yourself wishing you had someone else’s life, take a reality check and remember that the content of their Instagram is a small fraction of their real life. 

Similarly to Chessie King, Malin Andersson maintains an aesthetically pleasing Instagram whilst also lifting the veil of unrealistic positivity. Andersson often highlights issues such as  mental health, body confidence, domestic abuse awareness, caner and many other and real-life worries that affect so many of us every day. Andersson recognises that Instagram can be a positive platform, but also a damaging one therefore she continues to make the conscious effort to present her reality to her 479,000 followers.

In order to make scrolling through Instagram a positive experience, I urge you to unfollow anyone that makes you feel deflated and miserable, and to follow accounts such as Chessie King’s and Malin Andersson’s. Accounts such as these are creating a new trend on Instagram, not the “perfect life” but the real one that everyone can relate to. Many of the people you see in the images on Instagram don’t even look like their images, its important to remember that there are editing apps and multiple shots taken before it reaches Instagram. As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, therefore spending time comparing yourself and your life to others is time you could’ve spent embracing yourself and growing as a person. 

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