Content warning: This piece discusses eating disorders and self-harm.
Launched on October 6th 2010, the famed app known as Instagram was published, open for anyone to download. In 2010 I was 7 years old, too busy watching Total Drama Island and not understanding the ‘adult’ jokes. However, I downloaded it in 2015 when I was in year 7, and it was considered so completely and utterly cool to name drop every single friend in your bio. Much has changed since then.
Fast forward to now, 2019. People are making money by posting their faces and promoting laxatives disguised as appetite suppressants or ‘Fit Tea’, amongst promoting other impossible beauty standards. I remember when I took laxatives (not disguised as anything) to lose weight. The recommended dosage was 2 pills. I would take 15.
‘Beauty gurus’ create videos of themselves completely altering their facial structures, accompanied by actual physical surgeries, which at this point I can’t differentiate between the two. They also promote useless and overpriced products which don’t even work half the time. Isn’t that called scamming? Don’t get me wrong, I'm not saying makeup is inherently bad, just that the ‘default standard of beauty’, is damaging. Especially since the fan bases of these people consist of impressionable young people, like myself. Not that what I have to say matters anyway, considering an egg (yes, a literal image of an egg) managed 40-million-something likes a couple of days ago.
I think about my digital footprint a lot, I think about the numerous accounts and posts that I have made and then lost or deleted. I have gone through phases where I’ve wanted to become a recluse, a cryptid, and I achieved that through archiving and/or deleting my posts because I felt my appearance was that repulsive, that the tiny bit of the internet that I occupied didn’t deserve to witness it. In my head, it was like a car crash. Horrific, but not enough to take your eyes off of it.
I think about my account now, and how I have unarchived (most) of my posts because I have truly come to terms with the fact that I, Isabella Rose Clerehan, do not give a fuck. Not a singular one. They’re all gone with the wind now. (Maybe not, but let’s just pretend). My Instagram is for me, and for me only. If any of my 600-something followers have a problem with that, they can fuck right off. My Instagram documents the moments I am happy, and I like to remember happy moments. I always wonder why I would delete posts, regardless of how happy I was, and I realise now my recluse phase was due to such an ingrained hatred for myself, that I valued my image more than my actual human happiness at the time. Apparently, self-image and happiness are interlinked. Crazy, right? And hey, even if on this cursed app that may be the case, it doesn’t have to be. If you want to post something, you absolutely can. It doesn’t need a billion likes to be valid, and those ‘Fit Tea’ cocaine cunts can’t do anything about it.
Photo credit 📷 Oliver Chen/The Velvet Underground