BLOCKING SOMEONE ON SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE YOU’RE ENVIOUS OF THEM ISN’T SELF-CARE, OR AT LEAST, IT SHOULDN’T BE.
That strong pose when you’re getting ready to share an unpopular opinion
I was scrolling through Twitter last weekend, when I came across this tweet:
And it got me thinking about body image and mental health. I think self-care is incredibly important, particularly in an age where social media sees us being constantly bombarded by images which promote an unrealistic ideal, but I have to say, I really don’t think this is it.
The look you shoot them when they call using the block button ‘self-care’
Bag: My Accesories London (similar here)
Curating a diverse social media feed, particularly in terms of race and body type can be a great strategy for promoting a positive body image – it’s definitely something I do myself. I specifically only follow people whose content I find aesthetically-pleasing, inspiring and uplifting. So if I’ve been following you a while and I notice you over-edit your photos, I unfollow. If you start spouting body-shaming nonsense, I unfollow. But to me, there’s a difference between being strategic with who you follow (and unfollow) and blocking people because you’d rather pretend their body type doesn’t exist. One, to me, is ensuring that your social media feed is a reflection of the real-world when it comes to what women actually look like and the other just seems to be a bizarre form of denial, which arguably, borders on censorship.
That side-eye when someone edits in a Barbie-like crotch area
Now, on some level, I do get it. I’m sure by now, we’ve all seen the images which prove that Kendall Jenner doesn’t even look like Kendall Jenner (see below tweet). While posing, lighting etc. do undeniably work wonders, let’s not pretend that any living, breathing woman has labia that would rival the plastic crotch of a Mattel Barbie doll. The ‘yas, girl’ part of me wants to congratulate you on the off-chance that yours actually do, but the realistic part of me knows it’s probably best to advise you to see a doctor, if that’s the case.
Searching deeper: That faraway look when you’re trying to work out why social media posts are so triggering
Necklace: Monki (available at Asos)
But anyway, back on topic, as a woman who struggled with her confidence for the longest time, I totally understand not wanting to constantly see images which encourage you to be overly critical of your body (and I do think celebrities have a huge responsibility to consider the impact that over-edited images are sending out to potential viewers). At the same time though, I’m no therapist, but if seeing an image of somebody else makes you feel so bad about yourself that you actually feel the need to block them rather than just unfollowing or scrolling past, that to me points towards some sort of underlying issue. It’s actually reminiscent of the Liv Sidall vs. ‘Aunty Paula’ scenario which took place a few months back and I’m sure we don’t need to revisit exactly what was so problematic about that.
Closing your eyes to the truth: When you’re burying your head in the sand when it comes to body image issues
Earrings: Design by Hummingbird
The problem with this is, rather than confronting your body image issues head-on, what you’re doing is burying your head in the sand. And if at some point further down the line, an unexpected excavation takes place and you’re forcibly confronted with the images you didn’t want to see, all the underlying issues you’d previously buried away will pop back up to the surface and just like that, you’re back to square one.
Confronting the issues head-on: When you’re considering the best way to body image-related self-care
See the thing is, there are women with proportions more or less like Kendall Jenner’s (minus the Barbie-esque crotch area) naturally. So before you go on a self-care blocking spree, it’s probably a good idea to think long-term and ask yourself what you’re going to do if one day, you walk into the office and there’s a new starter with Beyonce’s face, Naomi Campbell’s legs and Christina Hendricks’ waist-to-hip ratio. Ask yourself how you’d react if your best friend starts killing it in the gym out and all of a sudden her waist is snatched, booty’s poppin’ and her face, (as always) is on ten. Real life doesn’t come with a block button, so you might want to develop a self-care strategy which involves learning to love yourself from the inside out, rather than closing your eyes to what you see externally and hoping somehow it will reflect internally, as well. Because trust me, I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.
Keeping the world out: When you’re trying to apply the block button to real-life
While we’re on the subject of what doesn’t work when it comes to self-care, can we also talk about inconsistency? Because there’s something inherently misguided, not to mention hypocritical about blocking Kendall Jenner, while still following Kylie. I mean, are we actually going to pretend this boob to head ratio is even remotely realistic, especially coming from the girl who just a few years ago tried to pass off her lip filler as a side-effect of puberty? I don’t think it’s conducive to anyone’s self-esteem to follow people who promote a highly edited, cosmetically enhanced aesthetic, especially while trying to pass it off as natural, leading you to question why your actually natural appearance doesn’t seem to measure up.
Hiding yourself away: when you’re worried your beauty doesn’t meet the standard
And finally, just a reminder that being tired of the media’s constant promotion of unrealistic beauty ideals is not an excuse to sneakily incorporate body shaming rhetoric into your social media posts, or real-life conversations (see tweet below). Calling other women’s bodies ‘slim plank looking’ isn’t cool. It isn’t uplifting. And it doesn’t help anyone.
Personally I'd rather have curves, I think they are more attractive than a slim plank looking body— 🍃 (@JellyTrufel) February 14, 2021
However it's her job to look this way and she's proud of the work she puts in to look like this so fair enough 👏, not everyone would find happiness living with tight diets tho
Another woman’s beauty, edited or not is not the absence of your own. So care about yourself enough to deal with any self-perception issues head-on, rather than essentially pasting a plaster on a broken bone. I’ll be sharing tips on how to do this soon.