Body Image In The Age Of Social Media

Dress: SWF; Shoes: Gucci

The other day I was at an event when I started talking to a few other bloggers about Instagram. Not long into the conversation, we began to discuss how, thanks to Instagram, it seems like every other person has flat abs and a peach emoji for a butt. In fact, this phenomenon is so common that my friends and I regularly use the phrase ‘Instagram ass’ to compliment girls on their derrieres. This got me thinking about a much larger topic: body image and the pursuit of perfection in the age of social media.

Although we are so much more than our appearance, it would be a big fat lie to pretend like these things don’t matter. Before the age of Instagram, there was the age of waif thin models who girls would look at and aspire to be. However, Instagram is different. Because it doesn’t just show us slender models who have unattainable careers walking runways. Or celebrities who pay thousands of dollars on personal trainers and nutritionists. It exposes us to everyday girls who seem to have either hit the genetic jackpot or figured out a workout routine that has lead to Victoria’s Secret bodies. And yes, for many people this is the case, but for others, it’s a smart mix of Photoshop and knowing their best angles. Therefore, it sometimes feel as though Instagram can perpetuate a cycle of faking perfection.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this platform. I love the fact that it allows us to be creative and has empowered so many of us to make a career out of doing what we love. But that doesn’t mean I’m in the dark about the downsides of an app that is built on the premise of sharing the best of your life. There’s been a huge debate around it leading to depression and self-esteem problems, so it’s extremely important to remind ourselves that what we see on Instagram is life through a pair of rose-coloured lenses. For our own sanity, it’s important to be able to distinguish between real life and the 3×3 grid of perfection that everyone likes to project.

I suppose there’s no real conclusion to a post on body image. But what I can say is that confidence comes from within. It comes from accepting our flaws, cellulite and all, no matter how many peach emoji butts we see. And most of all, it comes from wanting to be the best version of ourselves, as opposed to wishing for a body like a bikini clad girl with abs that can cut glass that you saw on Instagram.

So I would love to know, what’s your take on body image and perfection? Do you sometimes feel insecure while scrolling through Instagram?

Photography by Erin Leydon

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

Follow:
Share:

27 Comments

  1. Britta
    September 2, 2017 / 5:04 pm

    First of all this color is absolutely perfect for you! So gorgeous!
    Second: body image! I feel that Instagram has enabled us to see that regular people can be beautiful and stylish no matter the size in their clothes and that is exactly what younger people need to see! They do not necessarily need to be a model or thin as a cardboard to be successful!
    Thank you for another great post!

  2. September 2, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    Looking great as always Siff!

    Funnily enough, that is also the topic of my post for Monday! I guess we do think alike nowadays ha.

    -Didier
    http://www.didieryhc.com

  3. September 3, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    I do love that instagram is a place where I see more normal average body types…in great clothes and inspiring attitudes. I’ve been in such a slump with the personal fashion portion of my blog since I’ve gained a little weight but then I see a normal or larger body type in a cute outfit with a great smile and I think how pretty and happy that girl looks. It reminds me that if other people look at me, they aren’t all going to pick me apart the way I do. Reminds me that I need to not be so hard on myself and focus more on the clothes and being happy rather than trying to lose ten pounds before I post another fashion pic!

    Krisztina | http://www.krisztinaclifton.com

  4. September 3, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    You look amazing in that yellow dress, Babe. Great styling as always! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Have a wonderful long weekend ahead!
    Much love, Len
    http://www.lenparent.com
    XO

  5. September 3, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    I must say I definitely have felt the pressure. Particularly when heading into swim season, to be as slim as I once was when I was 18. I actually don’t think I ever had the leanest thighs, but it never occurred to me until I began using Instagram a few years ago. I guess, before that I wasn’t seeing myself in as many photos, nor did I ever notice or see much of what anyone else wore apart from in magazines, and they were models, so it seemed natural that they would be so slim. It’s a strange game, definitely. And one that, at 33, I can’t be bothered with for the most part. There are bigger things in life than curating your every move for the gram. haha. An extreme way to express it, but you know what I mean. That comparison game is a slippery slope. I do love that Instagram has brought with it access to a lot of different body shapes and people that I admire, for all sorts of reasons. I also feel like, at least in a small way, it can celebrate people who are different too, though not as much as it does the peach butt/ thigh gap/ abs type you mentioned. This is a topic I could probably go on and on about! haha
    xx Jenelle
    http://www.inspiringwit.com

  6. September 3, 2017 / 10:49 pm

    I totally agree with you. On Instagram we barely see plus size people, it’s seems like just skinny people. I mean I can’t be talking to much because I’m in shape. But it seems that every blogger is practically a model. And I can see why it can be negative because if we constantly see perfection, we will strive to be perfect. And it’s so hard to make it on Instagram without doing some stupid technique like following, and then unfollowing. I hate the Instagram algorithm because some people make it, and others don’t. And it’s all based on the image, and content you show. I love when I see other bloggers speaking out about this kind of issue, because this topic really needs more attention.
    http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

  7. September 4, 2017 / 6:40 am

    I loved this post! I think even the most perfect and beautiful can feel this insecurity! I also feel it sometimes but I tell myself that a lot of pictures on Instagram are kind of “fake” because/thanks to Photoshop or any other editing thing! I think there is so no shame to show the most flattering photos of ourself, like the best angles, it just about “improving our beauty” (haha) and gives us the confidence we all should have! Thank you for sharing and have a nice day!

    http://violettedaily.com

  8. September 4, 2017 / 9:22 am

    Great blog post, I totally agree with you !! as for your look, I just LOVE this dress on you ! Great styling !
    Have a great start to your week !
    Nina
    xox
    http://www.thecrispylipstick.com

  9. September 4, 2017 / 10:39 am

    I agree with you – in the social media era, we all try to portray the perfect life and seeing everyone do that makes us insecure. Still, I think confidence is key – we have to embrace our imperfections and learn how to love ourselves. I love your look!

    Have an awesome day!
    xx Kris

    https://dreamingofpink.wordpress.com

  10. September 4, 2017 / 11:01 am

    The scariest thing about Body Image in the age of social media is people’s growing acceptance with face tuning and photoshop. I met a few bloggers who nonchalantly tell me they removed a few pimples, brightened their eyes or pinched their waist. And that terrified me, cause if they are fine with it, how would young women following them feel?

    I guess it was because I always thought of bloggers as ‘realistic’ girls, compared to fashion models. And knowing that kind of disappoints me, since I grew up hating my body. Blogging was a way for me to showcase my ‘real’ self without feeling like I had to fit a certain mold. Now I’m just kind of disappointed about it all.

    That said, love your look! The dress is giving me Lemonade vibes haha! <3

    with love, Bash   |   HEY BASH

  11. September 4, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    the ‘Instagram ass’ trend as you call it is definitely going out of control, I think we all want to be confident in our own skin but it gets hard to not feel insecure sometimes.
    PS: your outfit is stunning, love the dress *
    Sonia
    http://www.soniaaicha.com

  12. September 4, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    Oh yessss to this dress + your text about insecurity babe ♥
    Sometimes feel the same while scrolling through my feed – but then, Id like to think about whats really important in life ♥

    xxx
    Tina

    http://styleappetite.com

  13. September 4, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    I love this colour on you and sometimes yes but most times it doesnt bother me…

    Thank you for your supportive comment in my last post re my dad xxx

  14. September 4, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    I think that so many the posts with perfect bodies are so choreographed and sometimes fixed that I don’t even care. I wouldn’t use instagram if it weren’t for The Fashion Folks as the platform has gone from people posting photos from their days/life to now be a place of trying to show up a life of perfection. It’s exhausting indeed and even more boring with the majority of fashion bloggers working the same concept/style/posts!

    Pssst, you look so so gorgeous in yellow. Such a perfect color! Xx
    http://www.thefashionfolks.com

  15. September 4, 2017 / 5:35 pm

    Love ❤️ this dress darling! Not an easy color to wear but suits you well! GGreat blog post , Instagram does give us choices more than traditional media. For every waif thin model look on Instagram there are 10 real women !
    Jandrew
    Dress The Part
    http://www.jandrewspeaks.com

  16. September 4, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    You look so beautiful in this dress !

  17. September 5, 2017 / 1:59 am

    It’s tough but I’ve also felt like instagram has given exposure to more plus size bloggers and I almost feel like size matters less than it did when I started 8 years ago. Still a ways to go though!

    District of Chic

  18. September 5, 2017 / 2:46 am

    I can totally relate! It’s hard to stay grounded and remember that social media isn’t everything. The way someone looks on ig is not always true to the way they look IRL.

    http://www.prettyinleather.net

  19. September 5, 2017 / 3:15 am

    Thank you for talking about it. It is such a difficult topic for a lot of women to deal with, or speak up about, especially in the era of IG wherein everything looks so glamorized perfect when it is not!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

  20. September 5, 2017 / 4:46 am

    I agree with you 100%. Great post, love. You look amazing as always. I really love this dress on you.
    Xx, Raysa

  21. September 5, 2017 / 6:21 am

    Ooooh- I love these kinds of topics! Maybe it’s because I was once a full-time stylist and had to see naked ‘perfect’ bodies on the regular or for some other reason but scrolling down Insta doesn’t make me feel so bad when it comes to people’s bodies. It’s seeing them with their perfect boyfriends with their uhmaaazing ‘how we got together stories’ that can feel a bit salty, but that’s chat for another time!
    I have my beef with my body but that’s caused from me and the need to be fitter, have my clothes fit better, exercise more to age better but these desires are not fueled by Instagram…
    But can I digress and talk about the makeup over dose on Insta? This sometimes makes me laugh, I’m tired of seeing girl’s faces contoured to death, massive drag eye lashes and you can see the image has been photoshopped/FaceTuned to death- this for me is a tad sad, that this is now the trendy form of beauty.
    Anyhoo, let me stop blabbing. Have a good week hon. Xo

  22. September 5, 2017 / 9:53 am

    You look beautiful in that dress Siffat! I agree, if one isn’t careful it’s very easy to get sucked into the world of feeling inferior when you scroll through Instagram and see all the ‘perfect’ bodies on the Explore page. But as you said, we should all strive to be the best version of ourselves and not try to look like someone else. It all boils down to self-confidence and it’s something we all continuously have to work on. xx
    Coco Bella Blog

  23. September 5, 2017 / 11:27 am

    OMG girl that color is so gorgeous on you! And yes! Instagram can be so bad sometimes, but usually if an account is making me feel insecure, i’ll just unfollow it
    xx
    http://angelebaby.com

  24. September 19, 2017 / 1:21 am

    First (you look gorgeous) and secondly, I really struggle with Instagram sometimes and can have a bit of a destructive love/hate relationship with it. Lately, though, I’ve been using my small account (fauxsilk_) to completely be myself. It’s less edited, less perfected, more instant version of my life and I’ve never been happier. I’ve even stopped using my main account because I found I only got interest when I was posting things that were not my own style or aesthetic.

    I love that you brought up this issue – especially considering you have such an influence.

    Much Love,

    Imogen
    http://www.faux-silk.com