Last night I watched Reggie Yates’ Extreme UK: Dying for a six pack, which is a documentary about the extreme lengths that guys will go to for the perfect body. It was really quite disturbing…. from hours in the gym wrapped in cling film (to sweat out excess water) to spending over £200k on surgery that included pec implants. Most of the men featured in the documentary cited social media as a driving force for their quest for the perfect abs. They needed to look their best for others. They needed to be accepted by society – a society that places great worth on looks and the perfect physique.
This really got me thinking about how fake social media can be. Most people only want to show their ‘perfect selves’ online, but of course this is a misrepresentation of their lives. With the rise of vloggers like Zoella and Tanya Burr, now celebrities in their own right, and Instagrammers with millions of followers posting photos that seem beyond the realm of any normal person, how can we compete? And should we?
Take Essena O’Neill, the Instagrammer who quit Instagram claiming it’s ‘not real life’. Essena, a young Australian model, had half a million followers but took to the social network to tell the real story behind her photos. And it wasn’t pretty or aspirational.
Of course there has been the inevitable backlash saying that this is all just publicity for her upcoming book, ‘How to be social media famous.’ Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. What I do know is that she is (or was) one of thousands, if not millions, of people posting unrealistic images online and I for one am quite tired of these kinds of vacuous posts. In fact, if I see any type of yoga pose on a beach or on top of a mountain you can guarantee I won’t follow. Is that really who you are? Would you be doing a headstand on a beach in Thailand if there wasn’t a camera to capture the moment? Or would you, like most of us, just be reading a book or magazine?
Let’s capture the moments that happen, not create a perfect moment.
As a travel, food and lifestyle blogger I of course like to follow fellow travellers and foodies. But I want to see the real thing, not the ‘I stood here and took 178 photos to get the perfect shot’. I want to see shots captured in the moment, that give me an essence of your experience. I want to see different cultures through your eyes and be inspired to visit myself. I want to see delicious plates of food, whether it’s on your travels or in your home town on a night out. And of course, as a blogger I like to post my own photos and experiences. I can promise you one thing – they will be real, raw and not over-thought or over-posed.