The familiar envy-inducing selfie. Many of us can agree we’ve wasted many morning commutes erratically scrolling through aspirational images of our female peers with a sinking sense of depreciation.
The Ugly Truth
Why do we look at these selfies? Aspiration. Motivation. #Goals.
What does this actually achieve? Comparison. Self-criticism. Envy.
Envy is an ugly thing. We don’t want to admit we feel inadequate or that we are doubtful of ourselves. Instead we feel envy that stirs up feelings of competition in all of us. She has something we want.
Competition is a defence mechanism for inadequacy. The truth is, we’d rather feel a sense of competition than admit she has something we want. And what does competition lead to? Individualism.
Now don’t get me wrong, individualism is good. However, there is a sort of individualism that produces a false independence, a fear of social intimacy, an unfounded assumption of others. The sad thing about the individualism that I’m talking about is that it is one that is immobilised by insecurity.
Let’s be honest, we are never going to achieve the exact same success we see on Instagram. Everyone’s measure and nature of success is different. More concerning still, these images are deliberate reconstructions and are not always authentic or achievable. As a result we’re breeding inferiority amongst women.
The Ugly Cycle
Why do we upload these selfies? Recognition. Affirmation. Achievement.
What does this actually achieve? A search for an identity on other people’s terms.
This is a losing battle.
“Rather than sitting back and voyeuristically judging other women and ourselves, we should be forming real connections and relationships.”
We can all build ourselves a digital avatar, an online personality through a carefully manipulated lens, a reward system based upon a reliance of others. What Instagram is actually doing is setting us apart more. It’s manufacturing a cycle built on destructive individualism and competition between women.
“My life is better than yours.”
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be able to share your lives with your friends. But there is such thing as a balance and sharing intimate snaps for the right reasons. We shouldn’t feel the need to find an identity in relation to others.
Rather than sitting back and voyeuristically judging other women and ourselves, we should be forming real connections and relationships. Instagram makes it very easy to become passive, detached from reality and unsatisfied.
I’ve got a few pieces of advice, my fellow females. Next time you meet someone (virtually or physically) that begins to stir up envy, just think:
She is an individual who is more than her image.
She has insecurities of her own, like you.
She has helped you understand more about what you might like to achieve in your own way.
You will fulfil your own personal ambitions on your terms.
Stay awesome and support each other, Ladies.