Something I have wanted to talk about for a while is the positives of social media, more specifically how social media can help women support other women.
When I was a child, I would constantly compare myself to other people. I don’t know why this happened, I don’t remember much of my childhood but I have vivid memories of me just feeling bad because I didn’t look like the girls on the front of magazines, or when social media came about I wasn’t as skinny as some of the people I followed, or I wasn’t as fit as them. I don’t know how this all began, I think my generation grew up in a very weird place – first we were told you had to be thin, and you had to have tiny eyebrows, then big eyebrows were in, then curvy was in, and big bums, and now healthy is in but almost to the point that it’s too strict and too healthy.
Teenage girls are easily influenced and I was one of them. I was constantly confused as to who I was, who I was meant to be, how I was meant to act and how I was supposed to look to comply with society’s expectations of ‘normal’ or ‘beautiful’.
Social media is a dangerous place. We all know the negativity surrounding it and have probably all, in some way or another experienced this negativity personally. We force ourselves to compare our lives to those who seemingly have the perfect life. In reality, what we post on social media is a highlight reel and others are the exact same.
What a lot of people, including myself, forget is how many positives social media has. Social media allows you to connect with like minded people, for example using the same hashtags and join various communities. It allows you to inspire people and also be inspired. It allows you to empower people, more specifically women.
It’s empowering to see women of all different shapes and sizes, all of them happy with their bodies and the way they look and all of them knowing and accepting that they’re never going to look like everyone else. It gives you more of an opportunity to see normal women as opposed to the photoshopped celebrities who, let’s face it, we’re never going to look like.
Over the past few weeks I’ve taken part in a couple of photoshoots with my friend Georgia O’Callaghan. Georgia is a Press & Ed Photography student in her third year at Falmouth who, for her final project, chose to create an Instagram page titled BeU in order to put stress on the fact that we are all different – you’re never going to look like her and she’s never going to look like you. Georgia’s idea around the whole theme was not just about body confidence and positivity, but the whole idea of women supporting women as opposed to women competing against each other.
I am guilty of despising someone because they look better than me, or because they’re better at me at work, but over the past few years my mindset has completely changed. We have enough men knocking us down and seeing us just for the way we look so why do we need each other doing it too? We need to propel each other forward instead of holding each other back.
The photoshoots with Georgia were so much fun. A lot of us work together at the hotel so knew each other however had never been in that kind of environment before. It was inspiring for me to be surrounded by so many confident women. When one of us showed even the slightest bit of self-consciousness the rest of us would pick her up again and remind her who she really is – a strong, beautiful woman who may not look like the rest of us, but she doesn’t need to look like us as she has so many amazing attributes both physically and mentally that some of us would never have.
Every woman is beautiful in their own way, including you. You may have a bum I would kill for, or constantly amazing eyebrows, but that’s okay because I’m happy with the way I am. Every woman is smart in their own way. You may have the creativity I wish I had, or the ability to write in different styles when I am only strong in a certain few areas, but that’s okay. Because I know where my strengths lie and the women who surround me support me with that.
We need to stop comparing and start supporting each other. Because we all have different strengths and attributes and we need the support of other women to help us excel and kill it at life.
I also asked Georgia as to why she wanted to focus on this theme and her response is honest, inspiring and something I think every woman will agree with and hopefully be inspired by:
Throughout your life, you see advertisements and movies that only show tiny women, with the perfect skin, perfect hair and the perfect body. When I was younger, I tried so hard to look like one of those girls, and it has taken me some time to realise that I won’t ever look like one of them. And that’s ok.
We have hundreds of things shoved in our faces saying that we need to change ourselves, but really, what needs to change is society. Obviously everyone is different, and that is definitely a good thing. Myself being nearly 6ft will definitely not fit in the same size jeans as someone who is 5ft. But that’s ok.
It’s taken me a long time to accept what I look like, and I still have days where I look in the mirror and wonder why I don’t look like the girls in magazines. But thats where my friends come in, they support me every day. We have a responsibility to pick up our friends, to help them feel confident, until they feel confident on there own. It may take a day, or years. As long as you know that everyone is different, and remind yourself that you are beautiful.
Thank you to Georgia for inspiring to write this and thank you to all my friends who constantly pick me up on my bad days and make me laugh until my stomach aches on the good days. I love you all immensely and want to remind you that you are beautiful and capable of anything you set your mind to.
Below are some of the photos from the shoots as well as a couple from previous shoots I’ve done with her. If you wanna see more of what Georgia is doing check out her Instagram page here and the BeU page here.