It's occurred to me that my beloved Instagram is turning into somewhat of an amateur porn hub. Despite admins trying their best to block and delete and ban users from posting explicit content, you just can't fight the masses on this one as they continue to post millions of images everyday.
I for one, am a huge fan of Intsy and love using it to see what my friends are up to, look up cute DIY cupcake decoration ideas or find out new places to eat, I scroll through fashion labels and boutiques accounts for their latest trends and styles, and my own personal account keeps track of my Fashion, Friends, Food and Fur People. (You can find me @lexi_evelyn_curtis)
What scares me about Instagram however, is all the content out there that isn't a puppy meme or an outfit of the day, what puts me off and what tears my heart out is all the girls using it to post photos of their bits and bobs for the sake of likes and followers. Now as much as I'd like to play naïve and pretend that these girls must simply be posting these pictures due to their sky-high self esteem and sheer vanity, I feel as though the reality of the situation is most likely the opposite.
I hate to point out the obvious, but if I had to guess, these women are seeking approval and praise for their bodies due to a lack of self esteem and self love, and a belief that the only thing they have to contribute to the world is their flesh.
I'm no stranger to the odd #selfie here and there and I even have a few snaps of myself and my girlfriends at the beach, but when it comes to having a million users ogling my images, I'd really rather keep my clothes on. Not only am I not comfortable with strangers using my pictures for whatever late night activities they feel the urge to perform, but my body is for me, not for the whole world to see. When you put these sorts of images out for the world to see, you're asking to be judged and I can tell you from a girls point of view the first reaction to an image of a girl taking a bathroom selfie naked is
I want to preface this by saying there is a big difference between a gym progress shot and provocatively posing as if you're getting ready to star in an adult film. Gym selfies can be inspiring and motivational, however posing naked for the sake of likes and followers is quite a whole different ball game. I also happen to follow a few very talented Burlesque performers who's job it is to take their clothes off, yet even these professionals manage to post appropriate content and keep the real show for those who attend their performances.
It might seem harsh but this is the reality of the situation and I know I'm not the only person that feels this way. I can guarantee that no man is going to look at an image of a girl with only her hands covering her genitals and say
"Gee she probably has a great personality and can hold a good conversation! I think I'd like to take her out on a nice date and see if we have anything in common."
My heart goes out to these girls because despite the fact that they are probably incredibly intelligent, funny, creative and exciting, all they are putting out into the cyber world is "Hi, I don't like clothes, this is my body, judge me only by this" and in doing so are selling themselves short. It's like whacking a "FOR SALE" sign across your forehead rather than saying "PRIVATE PROPERTY".
When I put it out there on Facebook, that I feel these sorts of images make women look cheap I was told to simply "unfollow it if you don't like it" but the point I'm trying to raise has nothing to do with my eyes being offended, the point is that I feel women are degrading themselves and selling themselves all for the sake of "likes" and "followers" and that they are worth so much more than that.
"Being famous on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly, it's not real".
Despite this funny little quote doing the rounds on all manners of social media, the concept is true and I think it's about time we understood that our value should not be based on how many people like our photo or how many people follow us on a social media platform.
The answer to this is simple, if you want a lot of attention, provide something a lot of people want to see. i.e. your tits and ass will do just fine. But wait just a second because what happens down the track, when you go for a job and your employer to be realises you're the girl he's been thinking about whilst making love to his wife every night?
What are you going to do when you meet someone special but they find it hard to be intimate with you. The feel you don't value your body because you're willing to show it to the world rather than keep it a special thing between two people?
What do you do when you realise the guy at Coles is the one who keeps putting creepy comments like "dat ass *clapping hands*" on every one of your #booty pictures?
How are you going to explain to your (future) daughter that it's not ok for her to do this very same thing when she becomes a teenager, when you're splashed all over cyber space for all the world to see?
As a woman, I do believe in standing up for myself and expressing myself in which ever way I see fit, but my body is my temple and it's not for a million creepy dudes to lust after. The guy who gets to see my junk is the one who treats me right, who loves me and who wants to put a ring on it, not a guy I've never met who follows/ stalks me liking all my semi-nude images and telling me he'd love to "split dat in 2". That's not acceptable in the real world and as far as I'm concerned it's not acceptable in cyber space, but it all has to start with you, stop the post before it becomes a problem, you are worth more than likes and followers!
If you're suffering with any body image issues or anything that makes you feel distressed chat to the guys and girls at Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.