We are in a state of limbo. Right now, right this minute, women are stronger, more powerful than they've ever been. Word spread that our cankles don't mean shit compared to our brilliant brains, and with the help of female pioneers like Lena Dunham and Michelle Obama, we're starting to believe it. Only, while our star was rising, so was another. Social media. Hiya, selfie. Hola, trolling. Ni hao, nude leaked pics. It goes without saying that on so many levels, social media is a godsend. We can communicate, meet new people, learn more, have opinions. But as endless studies will attest, it can be pretty detrimental, too.
A survey for Body Confidence Week found that almost 10 million Brit women 'feel depressed' because of the way they look, some blaming their body image for failed relationships or careers. I'm not blaming social media for these stats. Magazines, models and media ideals have been around for yonks. But celebs on social media, that's a slightly newer thing, and far more dangerous.
It's no secret that we're extremely connected, some of us even online-addicts. We mindlessly trail social media sites, taking in everything that flickers in front of our eyes, some helpful, some not. The 'belfies', yoga poses you couldn't even do if you were Stretch Armstrong and tiny, everything-free meals; well, that stuff comes under not so helpful.
Everyone has the right to feel good about themselves, models and celebs included. If that hot-dog-legs photo makes them feel that way, fine. But it won't make the majority of those who view it feel fine, and in this situation, they - the viewers - are who matter. Us mere mortals, both consciously and subconsciously, aspiring for things we don't have, and usually don't need (hot dog legs included). Us obsessive fans, absorbing everything celebs say, often confusing their intentions (they say: 'feeling confident and empowered', we say: 'her tummy's so flat!'). As soon as someone becomes a celebrity, they automatically take on the responsibility of being a role model, whether they like it or not. Yeah, if we post a body selfie, we could be encouraging our own followers to have the same self-conscious, jealous thoughts that we regularly have scrolling through celeb feeds. But the repercussions are tiny compared to those of someone famous. Of course, in an ideal world, there wouldn't be this terrifying divide. Celebs would live their lives, excelling at the occupation that made them well-known, choosing if they wanted their personal lives in the spotlight, not having to monitor what they post on their personal accounts. And we'd be able to see their beautiful photos and not wish or self-loathe or obsess. But, as squeezy cheese has proven, we live in anything but an ideal world.
It's challenging to be neutral. To not put Miranda Kerr on a pedastal, or, alternatively, to not slate her because we're rooting for 'real women'. It's hard to find a balanced ground between thinking selfies are ok (we post them because we think we look good, which is a good thing), to sighing at Kim K's obsession with herself (her book of selfies 'Selfish' is due out next year). It's tricky to navigate a world where you're embracing what you've got, all the while becoming putty in the hands of celeb weight loss tips or Victoria's Secret snaps.
I cruise Karlie Kloss' Instagram often. And just as often, I envy her long limbs, being all awesome. But hopefully, somewhere down the line, I'll find the balance between being jealous and just being happy for her and her limbs - and also, for mine.Suggest a correction