Instagram vs reality: a problem of representation


Every time I see someone post an "Instagram vs reality" shot, I think my head may explode. I mean, I get it – it's important to show that life isn't all smooth, rubber skin and neon sunsets. But aren't they missing the point? They're the ones who filtered, edited and posted the shot in the first place. Yep, you read that right – in offering this handy solution, they're refusing to acknowledge that they're the problem. Instagram vs reality doesn't have to be a thing. If we all just stopped posting fake photographs depicting fake visions of our lives, there would be no conflict.

Instagram vs reality – the fitness model vision

Take this Instagram vs reality post (above) by fitness model (LOL!) Anna Victoria. It got massive amounts of coverage online; websites called her "brave" and said her post showed that even fitness models don't look perfect 24/7.

In the caption, Anna Victoria says, "our belly rolls, cellulite, stretch marks are nothing to apologize [sic] for, or to be obsessed with getting rid of!" Well, er, this question may be a little too obvious but: if that's true, AV, why do 99% of your posts feature washboard abs? Not to mention the fact checking for abs after eating a bowl of pasta is not a sign of a balanced mindset. It's a f*cked up mindset, no matter how you look at it.

Who defined 'perfection' anyway?

Then we have Melinda – whose Instagram vs reality post is her attempt to improve the world her girls are growing up in, by showing us a "perfectly normal but not so perfect image". (Who decided belly rolls are "imperfect" anyway?) Once again, the message would be more powerful if it didn't exist among endless perfect pics elsewhere in her feed. The subtext of all of this is, of course, "women see so many 'perfect' images that make them feel bad about their bodies". YOU'RE THE ONE WHO POSTED THESE SHOTS IN THE FIRST PLACE. Honestly, how is this not more obvious?!

The Instagram vs reality juggernaut got some serious momentum back in 2015, when "Instagram celebrity" Essena O'Neill (an Australian no one had ever heard of) announced she was quitting social media because "it was all so fake".

I'm just so sick of influencers acting like they're doing us a favour by showing us the truth – when, in fact, they're doing us a massive disservice by hiding it from us in the first place.