It’s no secret women have been photoshopped for years and years. Fashion magazines and billboards portraying “dream” women over real ones. How aware are we that women we see on Instagram and other social media platforms are demonstrating that same photoshopped and IMAGINARY vision? Until my friend recently pointed out to me all of the facetuning that goes on behind social media accounts, I was one of those women who fell victim to it. Who compared myself to EDITED realities. Who has had men compare me to women who DO NOT EXIST past their screens. Comparing ourselves to the facetuned women of the internet is inevitable AND avoidable.
Celebrities like Khloe Kardashian and Bella Hadid, amongst many more, set unrealistic expectations for women everywhere to feel pressured by. Let’s be honest, the reason anyone facetunes to begin with is because of unfair social norms. Women have been conditioned for centuries to hate themselves. To strive to be the skinniest and the smoothest. To be something for everyone else at the expense of our own mental health. Fitting in to a “normal” that has been faked for years.
How do we stop this trend? Give women back the freedom of authenticity and girls the lesson to appreciate themselves for their own uniqueness. There is honestly nothing easier than BEING UNAPOLOGETICALLY OURSELVES. Khloe Kardashian has said “you can’t facetune energy”, but think of how much energy would be saved without editing, without worrying, without caring for other people’s opinions. Think about how many girls would grow up feeling beautiful and excited to walk around as themselves. How many women would feel relief getting to breathe outside the comfort of their privacy.
Why is this so important? The more these edited photos circulate, the more people’s minds are rewired to believe these bodies and these faces are the norm. Real life past a screen is nothing but below average and unpleasant. We as a society are more secluded from real life interactions than ever before. Our minds are being impacted daily by our new constant visuals of edited and imaginary people. The internet has taken enough from our society. Kids on iPads instead of in sandboxes. Adults consumed by their phones after their work days are complete. We already need to be distancing ourselves from social media yet social media is now manipulating our reality.
Imagine a world where real women are celebrated. Cellulite and stretch marks are symbols of strength, considered beautiful and appreciated by everyone. Treating our bodies with kindness is the only ingredient to confidence. Where the energy it takes to hide and lie is conserved and our focus can be about creating positivity and a safe place to feel healthy.
Facetuning is a lie. It’s a scam. It’s not a personal preference when it affects the way the world perceives women as a whole. It is cowardly to hide behind a screen. Be proud to be authentic because we all have it, but only some of us are brave enough to show it. Let’s reset expectations on what being beautiful means. Fitting in is simple when we provide the truth as our goals. We have so much more to offer than a touched up, glossed over doll.
As a teenager struggling to believe I could one day attain “happiness,” the most important thing I could have been told was that if I wanted it, all I had to do was reach for it. That it isn’t something only some people are given the opportunity to have, but only the people who fight for it get to hold onto it. That circumstances aren’t the determining factor, but my actions and my choices are. That no matter how defeated I may sometimes feel, happiness always lives inside of me if I rent out the space for it.
I’m honestly incredibly proud of myself. I think that’s something I don’t share too often, because it’s a message that doesn’t necessarily seem beneficial for others. But I am confident I have surpassed the moment where happiness can escape my possession. Where sadness is the exception to happiness, instead of a coexisting and accepted emotion. I have complete faith in my ability to balance whatever comes my way. To make the best of any situation and never lose sight of the power of my own mind.
So why now do I feel like publicly patting myself on the back? Because I see too many people struggling to believe that happiness is in their cards. Too many reminders of what I used to tell myself everyday. Not only do I deserve to take credit for getting myself to where I am today, but I want to broadcast that I was THE ONLY person who could manage to do it. As scary as it is to know there’s only one person we can rely on to find and hold onto happiness, how lucky we are that person is ourself. Control is in our own hands.
I think if someone had told me, when I was struggling, happiness is waiting for me and not the other way around, I might have seen it differently. That happiness isn’t something I’m given directly, it is something that is mine to take. It’s not something people are born with or without, but something any person can find and protect. Can explore and understand. Can grow with and be loyal to. I think that mentality could have opened my mind to a spark from a certain mood or a certain situation clicking it all into place. I think if someone had explained to me that it’s not “one day you’ll find it” but it’s there for me to find RIGHT NOW, I could have been inspired to grab my life by my own hands and give it a great big hug. Team up with myself and say “let’s do this.” I might have made the choice sooner to BE happy, instead of wait for it.