COMPETITION TIME… oh wait. Sorry. Not the sort of competition where you can win a lifetime supply of chocolate…
Posting pictures of our bodies on the internet is like being involved in an invisible competition. The need to prove that we have more self-control, more discipline and that we are more conventionally attractive than our peers has become a standard modern day hobby for many.
Despite the extreme emotional and physical pain that we endure to achieve this – including disordered eating, contortion and excessive exercise – there is still a sense of superiority and accomplishment that comes with it. We may be malnourished and have lower back pain, but it also leaves us feeling more worthy and different from the rest.
This was 100% me. I had disordered eating behaviours, exercised obsessively (and unsafely) – but the results were in line with the insta-beauty standard, and my body was celebrated. It truly made me feel as though I was special and better than those around me both on and offline.
Trying to stop posting pictures of my body online was extremely difficult. I couldn’t believe how addicted I was to feeling special in this way. I felt so compelled to post – as though people would think I’d fallen behind and ultimately that I wasn’t worth anything anymore if people couldn’t see the physical ‘success’ that I’d achieved and was maintaining.
This culture DIRECTLY encourages females to compete with each other. The better that we conform to #fitspo’s beauty ideals, the higher social status we gain… this has always been true for women throughout history, but now there’s an actual app which literally shows our social status via likes, shares and followers. Sometimes this can really take over a woman’s life when she’s made to feel that so much of who she is is based on how she looks.
Isn’t it messed up that we live in a culture where a females worth is dependent on how well they conform to beauty ideals regardless of the consequence? Especially when those beauty ideals don’t even exist (hi Facetune and Bodytune), or simply aren’t possible for the majority of people.