Generation avoids stereotypes

Social media allows form of expression

Albie Sher

media_stars_quittingMillennials live in a society where individuals take “you look skinny today” as a compliment. People assume that as teenagers, we should hate everything about our appearance.

When I joined social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter, it became so much easier for me to compare myself with individuals completely different than me.

According to a study done by Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens go online regularly and 71 percent of teens use more than one social media site.

Every day I saw posts that put the girls with skinny waists and thigh gaps on a pedestal. I thought these girls behind the accounts had everything perfect bodies and therefore perfect lives.

When Essena O’Neill, a girl with almost half of a million followers on Instagram, quit social media and called out all of its bluffs, I found it incredibly brave. In a video titled “Why I Am Really Quitting Social Media,” O’Neill explains that the life she lives on Instagram is fake, and that everyone posts lies. I found it intriguing that a girl deemed as perfect has as many insecurities as the people following her posts.

After O’Neill made her anti-social media statement, it became popular for girls to tell the true story behind their falsely perfect photos.

Seemingly overnight, teenagers all over chose to revise their most popular posts and tell the true story behind them. The perfect yoga pose on the beach turns into a five second jump hoping to capture the perfect shot. The organic green juice is actually thrown away after the photo is taken. The bikini pose on the beach is one of 300 photos taken that day in order to get a thigh gap.

After O’Neill took down her instagram account, her previous followers threw backlash her way.

O’Neill’s initial purpose for taking down her account was to let her followers know that her life is not as perfect as it seemed. Her intentions were good, but the story began to spiral in a direction nobody could expect. People on social media began to spew hate at the nineteen year old, giving her the same insults she threw out at social media. The insults “fake” and “fame hungry” were tossed at the social media star.

O’Neill intended to raise the self-esteem of her followers. Where she failed in building people up, she succeeded in tearing others down. A campaign designed to spread positivity and self-love will inevitably fail if it roots itself in hate.

Social media exists as a platform for self-expression. If an individual wants to post a “selfie” and it makes them feel good, it should not be considered in vain.

Millennials are not brainwashed. The younger generation lives in a society where social media exists as the prominent form of communication and expression. Interactions should not be invalidated simply because they are not face-to-face.

Online hate continues to be a serious issue plaguing this generation. The only way to spread self-love begins in understanding that each individual has beauty and value that exists outside of the world of social media.