The impact of platforms such as Instagram on our self confidence has already been well documented, but I’m starting to wonder if the relationship between the ‘gram and our self confidence goes beyond seeing photos of people and feeling bad about ourselves. I’m starting to wonder if Instagram has changed the way we look at photos of ourselves forever.
I saw a post this week where a girl shared an image that she said she wouldn’t usually share because it wasn’t ‘Instagram worthy’. It was a lovely photo – nice outfit, smiling, happy – but I could see what she meant. It didn’t have that Instagram ‘sparkle’ that we have come to expect when we scroll through our feed. It was just… well, it was just a photo of a girl in a dress.
It saddened me when I realised that we are now not only judging ourselves against ludicrous societal beauty standards, but also by the photography standards social media seems to have set.
I subscribe to the problem myself. To take photos for my blog, I often jog ahead and get Jack to get photos of me walking. Partly because at least then I don’t have to worry about trying to smile in a way that doesn’t say ‘I’m trying not to be awkward but this public photo shoot is embarrassing’ kind of way, but also because I know walking/looking into the distance shots look nice on a feed.
On top of this, I can’t count the number of times I have retaken perfectly nice, smiling photos because they’re not quite right. It’s not even insecurities about the way I look that makes me say that, more that I don’t think the image is Instagram ‘worthy’. The background isn’t just right, the lighting isn’t spot on, the quality is a little grainy.
Poor Jack is a good sport with me on this, but he isn’t a professional photographer nor does he have any interest in becoming one. I can’t help but feel a little sorry for him sometimes as he sees my face fall when he shows me the images he has captured. They’re not bad, but they’re not what is ‘expected’ on Instagram and so 90% of them end up deleted.
Looking at the impact of Instagram on not only our body confidence but the way we want the world to see us is baffling. Now not only do we not always feel good enough about our life or the way we look, we now feel like we can’t present it to the world in a way that’s good enough, either.
It saddens me that a platform that is simply about sharing photos has become something else we scrutinise ourselves on. It saddens me that for all my positivity and work on body image, I still lapse into following critical behaviours.
We’ve almost come to expect that everyone online can produce content similar to a professional photographer. It’s got to the point where it’s actually kind of weird to see photos posted that aren’t to that standard.
As much as I love seeing beautifully curated feeds, I kind of miss the old days where you just posted whatever you wanted. I miss the naturalness of photos, the bad angles, the ‘who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s a great memory’ feel that feeds used to have.
Is anyone with me on this or am I alone?