Life Through A Filter: The Dangers Of Perceiving Instagram As Reality

by Maryanna Arundel

Recently, Instagram model, Essena O’Neill, exposed the truth about reality versus social media by changing her Instagram account to be named, “Social Media Is Not Real Life.”

To further make a statement, O’Neill went back to her old posts, altering her captions to expose the truth behind each picture.

From paid promotions to not eating in order to get the perfect shot, O’Neill set out to reveal how her online presence is far from her real life.

The perception of her "perfect" life online caused her to be swept up into a downwards spiral of fake reality.

Many visual online platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, have millions of beautiful women with hundreds to thousands of followers living the “ideal life.”

Their accounts feature them frequenting the trendiest cafés and flaunting their perfect bikini bodies.

As fun as it is to create a picturesque online presence, most of these pictures mask the reality of their lives.

Social media was originally created to easily share moments of our lives in a nonchalant fashion.

Unfortunately, it has taken a turn for the worse, with people being plagued with the desire to have the “perfect aesthetic” to fit who they want to be perceived as online.

Many users view other people’s perfect Instagram accounts and set out to imitate them. They take better photos and edit posts in the coolest way.

Almost everyone is guilty of being excessive at some point for Instagram.

Even I admit I make my friends wait five minutes before eating so I can snap pictures for my food account.

The real issue is the fact that the posts on social media influence women to constantly feel pressured to be as perfect as the women they view online.

Seeing a photo of a girl with a blowout, highlights and a full face of makeup on social media every day harbors unrealistic standards of beauty and perfection.

The everyday woman often forgets most of these famous Instagram models are paid to promote things, such as clothing brands or beauty products.

Looking flawless online is something they must do all the time, in order to promote the purchase of the products.

The pressure put on social media queens, such as O’Neill, must not be overlooked, either.

Just as the modeling industry places unrealistic beauty standards on women, the Instagram industry does the same with its most famous users.

Getting paid based off the amount of likes and followers one draws to his or her account leads these ladies to put hours of work into one Instagram post. This is something that takes the average person less than five minutes.

Having to ditch meals, pose for hours and pretend to be happy when they're not, all for one photo is a huge indicator social media is pushing perfection standards for these women way too far.

More people like Essena O’Neill need to come out and expose the growing culture on Instagram for its unrealistic lifestyle expectations.

None of these women are as perfect as their Instagrams perceive them to be.

Everyone has off days when he or she doesn't feel as amazing as he or she can fully be. All women, professional Instagrammers and normal women alike, must not forget that.

The validation from likes and followers can become an unhealthy obsession that leads to a negative lifestyle.

Everyone enjoys the occasional good post, but when these posts become an obsession, we have to step away from our phones and realize the truth behind the matter.