Self-Esteem and Beauty Social Media
Instagram Vixens: When Did Our Parts Become Greater Than Our Whole?3/01/2013
Lately it seems like social media sites have become less about networking and connecting and more ...
A little while back, a girl on Instagram posted a late night picture of herself in her bra and panties, sliding the panties halfway down her hip with the caption, “Who’s still up? ;).” The picture received numerous comments from guys such as “Yeah I’d hit that,” “Damn, you sexy,” and “I’d beat that.”
Another instance I saw actually involved a girl I know. She flooded Twitter four or five pictures at a time quoting something that was intended to sound deep and profound. But the picture was of her from an overhead angled shot, pulling open her shirt ever-so-slightly to show her bra, cleavage, her very exposed midriff, and her itty bitty booty shorts.
When did our only value become our bodies? When did the most important thing in life become how many “likes” you can get, or how many comments you can get from random guys on the internet?
It certainly is not just a black girl issue but in my experience, I’m particularly hard pressed not to find a profile picture or avi of black girls showing off at least a side view of their booties in the tightest dress or skinny jeans they can find. It’s one thing to be proud enough of your body to want to show it off; it’s quite another to only have pictures of yourself half-naked or in tight, low cut clothes throughout your profile. In some pictures I’ve seen, the girl has completely cropped out her entire head, as if the only thing worth looking at is her body.
Obviously, something’s wrong here. There’s a piece missing that these girls are trying to fill with this attention-seeking behavior. Instead of them sitting down to figure out what it is, they act out on the internet to get attention from random guys who feed them the same “you sexy/beautiful/pretty/[insert overused adjective here]” that they throw on every girl’s half-naked picture.
It’s very psychologically damaging to believe that your only worth is how big your booty is or how much cleavage you can show or what your waist-to-hip ratio is.
What happens when all of that is gone? Are you worthless now that your waist isn’t as small as it used to be, or now that there’s a bunch of cellulite on that booty that was once so worthy of reverence, it was your avi picture for months?
Of course not, objectively. But if you never know your worth to begin with, you will continually seek your value from external sources, including the attention and validation of others.
When you know and value your inherent worth, your gratification is much more fulfilling and long-lasting. You won’t have to worry about the next girl outdoing you by wearing even more makeup and even less clothes. You won’t have to worry about how many thumbs up you have on Facebook because your own self-love is worth more than a superficial “like” any day.
How can we change this culture of devaluing ourselves? How do we teach girls their own inherent value so that they stop seeking it from others?
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Briana Gunter is a young writer searching to find her niche in the world of words, and in the world in general. She enjoys anything that allows her to express her creativity, be it music, writing, or crafting, and jumps at any opportunity to learn something new. Email her at Briana@ForHarriet.com and follow her on Twitter @DiamondCut1902 for her daily thoughts and musings; she loves interacting with her followers!