Normalizing Imperfections

Senior takes a look at the influence of platforms

Normalizing+Imperfections

Claire Middleton, Staff Writer

“Why don’t I look more like them?” “Why can’t my life look like that?” These are some typical questions social media users might ask themselves while scrolling through their multiple feeds — constant thoughts regarding comparison, jealousy and insecurity.

Although social media has served as a platform for communication and education, the negatives of social media tend to outweigh these positives for users such as senior Jillian Doebbeling.

“I’ve always felt an unnecessary pressure to be someone I am not,” Doebbeling said. “I can’t help but want to conform to society when it is telling me what to do, what to wear and what to look like all day.”

She expressed the more time she was on social media, the less self-confidence she had.

“I feel like a lot of people, girls especially, find themselves wishing they had everything they don’t have already,” Doebbeling said. “It can really impact their mental health. Personally, I’ve struggled severely with body dysmorphia and other self image issues, and social media does not help.”

Not only is self-esteem impacted through seeing other people’s feeds and stories, it can also be by monitoring the number of followers a user has.

Doebbeling openly admitted that the number of followers she has on Instagram has affected her mood in a negative way some days. She noticed tracking the number of followers she gained and lost sometimes was intimidating.

“It’s cool to see people who want to see what is going on in my life, but it also comes with some anxiety,” she said. “I honestly have no idea how big time influencers can handle that amount of pressure with the number of followers they have.”

Without a doubt, social media is a love-hate relationship for most users, including Doebbeling.

“I’ve had social media for years now, and I’ve benefited from it in so many ways,” she said. “I have personally taken the time to educate myself on a variety of positives and can definitely see how people would argue it is more necessary than not.”

Information that is useful undeniably flows from all platforms and connects people to current events and information they find interesting.

“I have to give social media some credit for helping me discover where my beliefs lie and how I can improve our society by speaking out on the things that matter,” she said.

With people only sharing the highlights of their life, it can cause people to hold themselves to the same standard.

“It’s so easy to look at influencers and their seemingly perfect lives,” she said. “I have to remind myself that behind every screen is a human being who is fighting their own battle.”

Doebbeling believes there are many benefits to all platforms, but it is so easy to get caught up in trying to please others and forget to be yourself.

“Insecurity coming from social media is completely normal in our culture,” she said. “I hope people will normalize imperfections and realize we are all different in our own beautiful ways.”