Eating Disorders Awareness Week - The Truth Behind Social Media

As today marks the end of Eating Disorders Awareness Week I felt it was necessary to touch on a topic which seems to be a leading factor in the cause of eating disorders today. That is social media.

You may feel this is largely contradictory as I am a big user of social media. Don’t get me wrong. When used in the right ways social media can be a very powerful, useful and opportunistic tool. I’ve met numerous people and friends, been to some amazing events and even got jobs through social media. However, as someone that posts regularly and puts a lot oftime into my social media presence, content and images I totally understand the work which goes into it to make it look ‘effortless’. This is something that I wish to share with you in this post. Too often we scroll through our news feeds, comparing our abs, bubble butt and thigh gaps to those who we see on social media. However, what we fail to see is the numerous shots taken before the one which was ‘perfected’ through the means of great lighting, flexing and editing programs and then deemed suitable to post.

Instagram especially can often appear as an online world of perfectionism. It’s easy to forget that we are only shown exactly what others want us to see. Myself included; which is why I want to share with you that things are not always as they appear to be. Unfortunately, and or understandably it’s much more aesthetically pleasing to see a stack of perfectly shaped and topped pancakes than the alternative reality of some odd rounds thrown onto a plate drowning in honey. It takes a considerable amount of time to build the perfect pancake stack. The honey doesn’t just miraculously drip in the exact place at the right time, the flowers aren’t just perfectly propped up and the natural light doesn’t shine through my window 24-hours a day. One image can require numerous shots taken from different angles, displaying a variety of different crockery.

The reality is, the perfect picture takes time to snap, the surroundings of the 4 corners of the Instagram window juxtapose the shot as there’s often mess everywhere. Following the perfect shot, it’s time to clear up. This often entails running round the house returning the props to their original places. This is  part of what I do and it’s there purely to inspire and provide others with ideas but it is by no means there for others to compare their ‘imperfections’ with the ‘perfections’ inside the four corners of my Instagram square. Comparisons occur in all sorts, however, I think the most common is body comparisons on social media. The same principles I’ve just explained also apply to the perfect ‘casual’ ‘lazy Sunday abs shot’. These images require the perfect outfit, the perfect lighting and a whole lot of tensing and make-up until the image is captured. What I really want you to take from this is just to be aware that what you see online isn’t necessarily exactly how it is in reality.