This week a video went viral called "Instagram Husbands", a commentary on the ridiculousness of young women's obsession with their image on social media. It's a pretty funny video if you haven't seen it, and, ironically, I found out about it because probably the most perfect, artsy basic white girl I know posted the damn thing on Facebook, laughing at it. The thing is - she is totally one of those beautiful girls who takes pictures in front of brick walls wearing a wide-brimmed black felt hat and a vintage dress. And she's graduating early and marrying her boyfriend from freshman year...You get the picture.
Funny thing is, she also paid a marked amount of inattention to myself and a dear childhood friend of mine who she happened to go to high school with. The first time we met, I pointed out our mutual connection, and lo and behold, a couple weeks ago (three years from when we first met) she wrote my friend and I about her revelation that we all knew each other.
Anyways, she embodies, along with the parodied subject matter of aforementioned video, a standard a cool beauty and popularity I struggled for a long time with envying. While I hate people being unoriginal and just following the masses to look cool, I always felt my self-esteem take a plummet when girls posted artsy photoshoots their friends had done with them and everyone threw flowers of likes and comments "omgs gurrrl u so pretty stahhhp ittttt not fair".
But I made myself miserable when I was obsessed with maintaining my image to the world and when I let my concerns of what other people think determine what I wrote on FB or did in life. There are all these unspoken judgments for crossing certain unspoken lines on social media and I think some people don't like how I like so many articles about mental illness stigma and research, but wow I thought this damn invention was supposed to be about connecting with friends. I find it obnoxious that my friends now see it as a way to create an image for yourself and they will delete things their friends post on their page because it's embarrassing. But maybe that speaks to the status of friendship today. Cuz I'm pretty disillusioned with how conditional I've found people's "love", "support" and "friendship" to be.
But to wrap things up, I guess the whole Instagram Husbands video highlights the ridiculousness of the social media lifestyle and the way it consumes your thinking. You start staging your life. How does that affect your relationships? Can you be genuine? Do people serve to cultivate your image? Because a lot of boyfriends and fiancees seem to be mere keys to unlock the world of artsy wedding shoots and finally justified Wedding Pinterest boards.
I guess I'm being too cynical. But I do think this image-obsessed culture results in shallow relationships. I've felt pretty hurt over the past few years by people resenting my attempts to share jokes or keep in contact via social media because it looks stupid. I've been hurt by people judging the number of times I change my profile picture or the number of things I like or whatever b.s. it is. Peoples obsessive underlying insecurity really comes out. And there is definitely an art to knowing just what kind of posts will get likes ... and what kinds won't.
Enjoy a display of a carefully crafted Instagram Image by the woman who ruined my sister's life
Can you count the Bible reading photos??
An even More carefully crafted online image for your personal and moral edification