As part of my ECMP 355 class, I read an article about the devastating contrast between one young woman’s seemingly happy life on social media, and the reality of her suffering. Madison Holleran was struggling with depression in her first year of college but maintained a flawless exterior and social media presence. Eventually, she couldn’t cope and ended her life.
The full article about Madison Holleran can be found here.
I’ve heard a hundred stories like this and read similar accounts. It’s no surprise to me that so many young girls and women compare themselves to others on Instagram and feel pressure to portray a perfect life. But for some reason, Madison’s story really shook me. I cried after reading the article and now I can’t stop thinking about her. Maybe I relate to her on some level or maybe my emotions finally boiled over after spending so much time thinking about the darker sides of social media.
I have known about Amanda Todd’s story for a long time but just revisited her story during class discussion. Amanda Todd’s story is another devastating example of the results of the pressure to be perfect online. I don’t think that Amanda’s struggles were related to Instagram but this particular social media platform causes issues for many girls like what Amanda faced.
If you don’t know about Amanda Todd, click here for a link to read her story.
Social media platforms like Instagram are intended to bring people together, but somehow they have the exact opposite effect. There is intense pressure to post the perfect pictures and have a seemingly flawless life. But of course no one actually feels like their life is perfect so a cycle of unhappiness ensues.
We hate the consequences of social media and empty feelings that Instagram produces but we continue to buy into it.
Below is a short account of Essena O’Neill, a teenage Instagram star with more than 500,000 followers who decided to shut down her social media career. Like many, the photos she posted depicting an effortlessly happy and seemingly perfect life, but it was completely contrived and she was secretly unhappy. I think its amazing that she re-captioned her photos to show her real feelings and what was actually going on in those flawless snapshots.
The accounts I follow on Instagram are mostly cats, puppies, and travel accounts. Scrolling through pictures of animals usually boosts my mood. But its hard not to compare my life to the travel accounts and wish that I could life a fabulous life traveling the world. My favorite couple to love/hate is doyoutravel and gypsea_lust They make a living by blogging and posting on Instagram all of their adventures in gorgeous exotic places. And it doesn’t help that they are both extremely good looking. Ugh.
I make a point of avoiding fitness or fashion accounts to minimize the blow to my self esteem.
What/who do you follow on Instagram? Do you find yourself comparing and competing? Does Instagram build you up or tear you down?