I know I am going to sound pretty shallow with my next statement but here goes: I don’t want to go out in public because my hair doesn’t look right. There, I said it. My hair is hot mess and it’s making me feel rubbish. I spent time yesterday washing, drying and straightening my hair to end up in a crumpled heap, sobbing into my pillow. An hour that started with a “it’s a new day” and a positive attitude after a horrific experience at the hairdresser’s the day before abruptly ended when I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. I have a hairdresser and my self-confidence to blame for it. Well, most of the blame is on the “pro” with the sharp object and her skills in not being able to cut in a straight line. Someone needs to send her back to nursery school and confiscate the adult scissors until she can master the plastic ones.
I have the mindset, and I know I can’t be the only one, that I need to look a certain way because of the images we get from magazines, TV shows, and of course, social media. We see that beauty blogger who just had the best experience at a glamorous salon and now looks like she could walk the runway at London Fashion Week. But what do we get? An uneven short bob, reminiscent of the one I had when I was five-years-old.
And we find that beauty blogger on social media. Something that has a lot to answer for. Instagram paints the picture of that perfect home, with expensive décor and appliances. Pinterest shows us what our hair should look like on day 2. Facebook suggests that we join the group to follow the latest weight-loss-fad-diet cleansing tea to lose 14lbs in 7 days.
But we all still use it. We say that we “need it” in our lives.
I follow over 500 people on Instagram, most of them being bloggers. I follow anything from interior designers and parent bloggers to world travelers and local restaurants. But why do I follow them? I don’t own my own home so why do I need inspiration from someone’s newly built house that they are furnishing? I’m not a parent so why do I need to see pictures of someone’s baby in a cute outfit? For the same reason that the other 1000’s of people probably follow them – we want a little bit if that. We want to have that sofa with those 10 perfectly placed cushions and the pristine white kitchen with the oven that looks like it’s never cooked a chicken before.
We get our little bit of that world by seeing these people’s photos on social media. We invade their lives through our screens and enjoy the little bits of their world that escape.
This collection of perfect squares in cyber space make the owners happy at the life that they portray. They probably make them very happy and I really hope they are. But for the people who don’t own that elegantly placed throw or adorable two-year-old in the “I love my Mummy” t-shirt? It can leave you feeling quite flat, that your life doesn’t amount to much because you don’t have the money to buy a $300 blanket. It can make you feel that you don’t deserve to be female because you can’t master the exact art of using a sharp pencil to draw a straight line on the most unstable and flinch-worthy part of your body: the eyelid.
But do those little snippet’s of the girl-next-door’s life really just “escape”? That’s a silly question if ever there was one. We get to see what she has picked. She doesn’t show us the horrors behind the camera. We don’t see the drawings of said precious two-year-old on the hallway wall. We don’t see the 15 failed attempts to get her hair into the perfect messy bun. She only lets us see the finished product.
And this gives us hope.
There is such as thing as “imperfection”. We are human, after all. Instagram is just there as a front to help us look like the people we want to be seen as. It’s okay to put that picture out there because it makes us feel better about ourselves, it gives us self-confidence. I know that my hair looks truly awful. And, unfortunately, I can’t wear a woolly hat at the gym. I have to suck it up and accept that I may not look the way that I want to at the moment. But it can be fixed. It can be straightened, it will grow out. What ever I choose, I have to accept that I just need to get on with it. And of course, I don’t have to put a picture on Instagram of my hair. It’s my choice what is out there and what I share with the world.
So until then, you could find me sporting a very fashionable hat, or hiding under my duvet until I feel it’s safe to return to humanity. I will, however, spend my time under the duvet trawling Instagram, looking at flat lays of someone’s latest Sephora haul and making a note of how many banks I will have to hold up to get said products. But it will make me feel better, sharing the little parts of people’s lives that they kindly donate to us mere mortals. And for that I am thankful.
Do you agree with my view on social media? Do you feel that you need to portray a certain image to be accepted? More importantly, are you a hairdresser and can you fix my hair?
*All photos courtesy of unsplash.com