Since the widespread of Instagram, I’m noticing more and more women showcasing their bodies… and their goodies- not just their fit, toned selves in workout gear, but hyper-sexualized pictures. Take the “fitspo” and “fitnessmotivation” trends and the pictures that accompany them for example. Who wears a thong and lace push-up bra in full hair and makeup while doing tricep kick-backs on a bench in the gym ? NO ONE.
What message are women sending these days? Has vanity overtaken our society? What about the girls of future generations? I fear that the answers to these questions are what women have been fighting against for decades.
What message are women sending these days? These risque pictures (in hopes of getting “likes” and “comments”) are leaving nothing to the imagination; they send universal approval to men to lust and sexualize women. Women of today are adding to the over-sexed hype that our culture has set as a standard. As if it hasn’t gotten bad enough through commercial media, we as women are adding to this standard by means of social media. We are counteracting what we have been wanting for years and years to happen-to be taken seriously, given equal opportunities as men and to not be looked at as a mere sex object. Instagram is a sea of semi-nude women in sexually explicit poses, and we are to blame. Women are posting these.
Has vanity overtaken our society? I get it-I love style and fashion. I post #ootds (not with my face in them) and the occasional “selfie” (rare), and some days, quite frankly, I just feel beautiful! However, my first reaction is not to take 100 photos just to capture that one perfect look to post on Instagram. I have a confidence that came from years and years of experience, self-reflection and self-acceptance. Today, women have become self-absorbed; hovering over their heads is an unhealthy pressure to capture how beautiful their hair looks or how amazingly flawless their makeup is or how tight their booty is getting. Very often it’s captioned with a insightful quote that has nothing to do with the fact that they are posting a picture out of vanity just to get approval.
What about the girls of future generations? They are the ones most engulfed by this. I teach freshman in high school. I see girls taking selfies in the bathroom, walking to class, and sadly sometimes in my classroom before the bell rings. It’s a norm for them-to post pictures on Instagram, tweet on Twitter and make videos for Vine. The scary thing is, how will they know when to draw the line between innocent pictures and delving into the more sexualized photos? Which picture would get more likes? I think we all know the answer to that question.
My hope for young ladies and women all around the world is for them to know that they don’t have to post pictures of any kind in order to gain approval. I want them to know that their beauty doesn’t rely on the number of “likes” or “comments” of social media. I want them to find inner-confidence, self-control and more importantly, self-respect.
So, think before you post. Think before you envy that girl in the tiny black bikini working out at the gym. I just have to giggle at those.
~ Brynlea Cunniff
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