Just like in person, sometimes in social media, it is hard to determine when someone is genuine and authentic. If you've been reading my blog and IG posts, you know that I try to always be true and real with everyone. Something that really gets to me though, is when people lie about who they are or what they stand for just to better themselves or gain popularity. Now, I am not talking about actors, performers, or people who take on a persona for entertainment purposes. That to me is something different and is an art form. No, I am talking about people who claim to be "real" and authentic but then totally contradict themselves just so they can "cash in" on an agenda or a trending topic.
In the past few years and especially the past few months, you may have heard the terms Body Positive, Body Positivity, Real Models, and similar themes mentioned in the media. In case you haven't, "The Body Positive Movement is a feminist movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being. Whether people are nurturing their bodies and maintaining their weight, or finding a place in life where they are comfortable through working out, or changing their lifestyles to find a better attitude, the body positive movement focuses on building self-esteem through improving one's self-image. The body positive movement targets all body shapes and sizes." Some of the biggest hashtags on social media sites right now are related in some way to these topics. As a naturally curvy and thick girl, this of course is amazing to see. It is great seeing that there are now models out there with my dimensions making a name for themselves. This is something I really would have appreciated years ago, as a curvy and awkward teenage girl. I am loving that actual real life people are starting to determine who represents us in the media now. It is no longer just corporate executives telling us which people are beautiful enough to model their merchandise. Don't get me wrong, there is a long way to go in the full representation of "real people", but at least there is a movement started.
Just like when there is any movement or hot topic, there are always people who want to hop on the bandwagon to cash in. Nowadays, maybe it doesn't necessarily mean in a monetary sense, but in regards to likes and followers in the social media aspect. I recently have noticed many people switching their focus to Body Positive Movement themed posts and bio taglines. Many of these same people are discussing more and more about how important it is to be "real" . To accept and love ourselves for who we are. I, of course couldn't agree more. I don't have a problem with more people joining the movement. I mean after all, that's what it's about. What I do have a problem with, though, is people hopping on this bandwagon about real bodies and being real and natural , and yet are promoting things that are the exact opposite. "Love yourself the way you are" they say, but here, "Try these fake lashes", "Use this product to reduce cellulite", "Try these hair extensions", or things like "You need to try this spray tan". I think you get the idea, and the list could go on and on. Honestly, I have no problem with people using any of these products or services. I have used many of them myself. What I do have a problem with, is that if you are going to promote people loving themselves for who they are, and asking people to follow your journey about being real, than you should be practicing that yourself. When you don't, it makes you look like a hypocrite and it takes away all credibility on anything else you choose to write about. If you are telling photographers/editors and such that they shouldn't be airbrushing out scars, cellulite, or other imperfections, then I should hope you aren't wearing hair extensions or other items that are transforming yourself into someone you are not.
Let me be clear, this is not referring to everyone. I am directing this to a small percentage of people that choose to take advantage of these trending tags. Furthermore, I do agree that the Photoshop editing has to be minimized. I do feel like people should love their bodies. I also feel that many of us do have difficulties in doing that. This is mainly due to the unrealistic beauty standards that we have been conditioned to accept. What I do have a problem with, is people who come out of nowhere to join this movement (or any movement for that matter). The people who come to ride the wave and use these trends to support their own agenda (especially when they are promoting things that stand for the exact opposite the rest of the time). It would be like if a smoker started pushing a non-smoking campaign just because it was a trending topic, to gain followers.
I agree, we need more Real People representing the general population, so little girls and boys can grow up having role models that look like them. This does not start and stop with curvy women, however. In America especially, we need more representation for people of color (this means all ethnic backgrounds), more people that have disabilities, more people that have unique features such as scars, acne, birthmarks, etc., we need more people of different heights and weights and shapes and sizes, you get the gist.
I love how things are changing in the world to becoming more inclusive. I love how people are using their social media platforms and their celebrity status to promote topics that are important to them. I love that people are uprising and speaking their opinions on things and not letting mainstream media dictate our lives and our opinions for us. This is only going to continue and grow in the years to come. I sincerely hope though, that people do not abuse and use these types of movements and trending topics for their own personal gain. I urge you all to please be "Real" and stand for things that you truly believe in and practice and not just because it is the trending hashtag.