Body image and self-love
In the modern day, image is everything. It is how we are perceived, judged and come across to people. Growing up in the era that saw the rise of social media, it feels we are always in competition with each other. Who can get the most likes, followers and attention from people who we don’t even care about or haven’t even met. We care too much about statistics rather than self-love.
This is why todays theme is centred around the positives and negatives of using social media as a platform to express yourself and how important is to express body positivity whilst unapologetically living.
Helping me discuss this theme is a good friend of mine and a very knowledgeable person to talk about this subject, Faith Hodgson. Gaining over 60,000 followers on Instagram in under six months, Faith has built a huge following due to her inspiring body positivity content and self love. Faith uploads content everyday onto her official Instagram page which is met with a lot of admiration and positive feedback on each upload.
Although it was not always like that for Faith who in the past has battled with her mental health over her body image and spoke about how social media can add to her insecurities. This is why todays article will discuss the positives and negatives of social media and how it effects your mental health.
Meeting Faith and her unapologetic lifestyle
Faith Hodgson is a 22-year old lifestyle blogger on Instagram who spoke candidly about her target audience for her content. The specific theme chosen for the page is all about:
‘Self love, body image and existing in a plus size body with no regrets.’Faith Hodgson
Focusing her page purely on body positivity, the term itself began in 1996 by a psychotherapist. The whole movement of self love and body positivity began in 2012, ‘VeryWellMind.com‘ explained on their site it all began with “challenging unrealistic beauty standards” and explained that:
‘As the movement grew in popularity, the original focus on acceptance of weight began to shift toward a message that all bodies are beautiful’.VeryWellMind.com
They concluded ‘Instagram has played a pivotal role in the rise of the ‘body positivity movement.’
Instagrams tagline is ‘capture and share the world’s moments’ (Instagram 2012). Although following the resurgence of the selfie in 2010 when the iPhone 4 introduced a front facing camera, photo sharing apps such as Instagram and Snapchat were mostly used for posting selfies. #Selfie currently has over 419 million posts (07/05/20). This is what Faith’s Instagram theme is all about, photos of herself at her happiest to create a feel good aura.
With the motto being ‘unapologetically living‘ Faith discusses how somebody of her size wouldn’t have been given a platform a few years ago. Although its time to kick down the barriers of such close-minded standards and break the walls of what is seen as the ‘normal.’ According to the Telegraph newspaper the average size in the UK is 16 and yet only 1.4% of models are over the size of 12 (Telegraph 2016). The message is do not feel sorry for being the way you are and represent yourself to others that you are happy and proud of everything you stand for.
Positives and negatives of social media
Although it’s not all positives, as social media gives everybody the chance to express themselves in which people can take advantage of.
Everybody has experienced a form of cyber bullying in their lives, either minor or major forms of torment that could drastically change or push you to end your life. Faith recalls moments in her past where she has been bullied for her size and spoke about how difficult it was for her mental health and self esteem. This was expressed when Faith said she is:
‘Trying to exist in a world that don’t feel she is worthy.’Faith Hodgson
Nobody should ever feel isolated and unwanted like this, although it’s not an uncommon feeling for people who deal with mental illnesses such as Body dysmorphic disorder. Battling these feelings on a daily, Faith decided enough is enough and flipped her negative criticisms and made a social media page for people like herself who feel like that to reach out and make sure they feel worthy and there is a place for everybody.
I personally feel this approach is a breath of fresh air and offers a whole new dynamic to the standard stereotypical social media page. As somebody who only uploads content that meets certain standards, I have missed many life experiences on my social media due to not being happy with the way I look at the moment and fearing I would be judged.
Faith’s Instagram gives confidence, she has never looked happier and is glowing which is portrayed in all of her social media posts without the need of editing applications such as Facetune or Adobe Photoshop
This is a lot more than one person though, it is a movement, it is a community, it’s everybody finally taking a stand against the public perception of perfection.
Beauty is the eye of the beholder and the reality is, we call come in different shapes and sizes, colours and insecurities. We all seek validation and acceptance from others, that’s why it takes being around people similar to you to really notice you are not alone. This is when the perception you had of yourself and the insecurities you felt feel small as your journey to discover self love and acceptance only grows.
There are many things we would like to adjust, tighten and maybe decrease or even increase (lets stay PG) in our body but you will always be the same person. Since December Faith has not changed anything about her body but only the perception she has of it. This is shown on Faith’s Instagram as she uploads daily content, has businesses supplying free content for her to advertise and has seen a growth of over 60,000 followers on her page. Faith have pathed out a thriving career as an influencer just by giving off a positive energy of self-love to her followers that they can emulate.
Here at Proudly we hope this story shows everybody that you do not have to meet the standards to stand out, you just need to have self-love and stay true to everything you represent.
Everybody will judge, just make sure you don’t care
So this goes out to everybody who does not feel worthy or has a feeling of insecurity, you are not alone! Never feel like you are not enough, from your appearance to your personality, we are the way we are for a reason and the simple reason is because if we all the same then the world would be a boring place. Be different, be eccentric, break down barriers and challenge normality. We need self love more than ever right now during isolation and I hope this blog has helped you.
Faith’s journey is an inspiring story of self-love and using her platform to help others. For that exact reason is why I believe that Faith is an amazing role model for people who suffer with their body image. This is shown within all her stories, video and posts where she writes a caption to each one that encourages everybody to find happiness within themselves instead of nitpicking specific insecurities and flaws that from the human eye wouldn’t even be visible.
Social media can be a really dangerous place with pewresearch.org (2018) reported that 59% of teens from the United States have experienced cyberbullying. There would be a similar figure globally too, that is completely horrific and no person should have to experience it no matter the severity and the consequences that come with it.
As with everything, there will be negatives and positives although if you consume in small doses you will put yourself at less risk. The internet welcomes the whole world into your life and can allow them to discover everything about you. Not everybody will be supportive, you can’t please everybody but never allow them to change what you preach and stand by everything you say and represent.
Hopefully this article helps readers who have endured troubles on social media in the past and are made aware of the positives too. Social media can build connections, create communities and gives people a platform who might have never got the chance before. There will be people who doubt and criticise you along the way but practice what you preach and stay true to what you represent, there is no bigger strength than that.
Have your own story to share?