Over the past few months I’ve been using Tumblr a lot. I use it for two types of Tumblr browsing; fandom (because yes, I have succumbed to the teenage stereotype of obsessing over fictional characters and the actors and actresses that bring them to life) and fashion. I’ve made friends (you know who you are!), I’ve gained inspiration and I’ve had a lot of fun whilst doing it… but I’ve also seen a considerable amount of self-deprecating content and it’s actually made me rather quite sad.
There’s a danger that comes with social media, and we’re all aware of it, but the question is; do we actually take it seriously? For the most part when it comes to the internet, we (as in – the majority of us who use it (I’m talking about you, me, everyone who’s reading this now)) make sure that important topics are learnt about and crucial changes are made, especially when it comes to such things as cyberbullying, online grooming and all those sorts of things which I don’t really want to go into at much detail.
In terms of subtle messages and half-hearted posts made by anybody and anyone however, we don’t really seem to care that much, because that’s exactly what they come across as – half-hearted, meaningless throw-away comments.
What happens to all of those throw-away comments though? Where do they go? Well… they collect, and they get distributed, and because they’re so common but dispersed at a less powerful rate than those dangerous cyberbully comments and those weirdos you find on those random webcam generating sites, they get dismissed. When in actual fact, because they’re so prevalent, and because we see them so frequently, they can actually become more powerful than all of that over time.
It sounds all a bit dramatic and some of you might not agree, but after realising how many of these self-deprecating posts there are on Tumblr and sites alike, it got me thinking as to why we need to a put a stop to them. Seeing endless posts of ‘omg i’m so ugly haha hashtag relatable’ and actually starting to go “Ohh yeah, that is relatable” is pretty damn worrying – because we’ve all done it right? We’ve all seen a post which has made us believe we are just that – ugly… too thin; too fat; too curvy; too spotty; too hairy etc etc; the list goes on.
Some of the time we agree with the apathetic-ness of it all – we reblog or retweet something along the lines of ‘imagine a world where i’m pretty’ (no capitalised letters because Tumblr™) and don’t think much of it because it made us laugh. We move on and we share another similar post the following day or week, or whenever something else along the same vein grasps our attention.
Let’s focus on one word there though – share.
That’s the dangerous part. It’s not like in a book where you can read a line and laugh, or read a line and express your relatable feelings to yourself, because there’s also a button which gives you the instant ability to pass the message on; to pass the message on to somebody else to find and start believing in too.
These messages and comments and beliefs start filling our minds and it becomes second nature to click the button and agree with whatever’s written – probably by somebody in a genuine moment of insecurity, but has then snowballed to become a post with over 42,790 notes (reblogs/likes) and counting because it’s been marked and labelled as something ordinary. It’s a dangerous pattern all because we don’t even realise it is one.
It’s okay to sometimes share these posts in my opinion, because we all have down days of insecurity – even the most confident seeming people do, and occasionally we need something relatable and something that doesn’t make us feel so alone… but we also, more importantly, need to realise that there is a danger to it and that damage can be made when we’re constantly feeding our minds with these ideas which all ridiculously incorrect.
I agree with the statement of beauty is in the eye of the beholder, because it genuinely is. There is no such thing as ugly. We only know of the word ugly because society has made us feel like we have to fit into a certain box – or should I say in this case, a text box.
So the next time you see a post like this, or you see somebody you know reblogging one – do take it seriously. Tell them that you disagree with the statement – send a message and tell them that they’re not ugly; tell them that they don’t have too-far-apart thighs or knobbly knees or whatever else might be listed, because promise me, they won’t expect it, but my goodness gracious they’ll appreciate it… because even if they did share it just as a joke, deep down, they probably believe it whole-heartedly.
Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx