The Us Project
As a beauty and style blogger, I take way too many photos of myself. At least once a week, I feel self-conscious and uncomfortable with the idea that my face is plastered on websites and social media channels all over the internet. Don’t get me wrong- I love social media, and I love my blog; however, I’m always worried that my readers will think that the small portion of my life that I choose to share on the internet is my whole life. I do love clothes and makeup and shoes and all of the frivolous girly stuff that I write about, but in my everyday life, I value my family and friendships before everything else. I’m not in full makeup and extensions 24 hours a day. In fact, most of the time you’ll find me working in front of my computer in sweatpants, a hoodie, and absolutely no makeup. Is my blog and social media a lie? Absolutely not. Am I trying to hide my real life? Absolutely not. In real life, I am a still girly girl who loves to get dressed up and play with makeup, but my channels only showcase the few hours of my day that are picture-worthy. I honestly don’t think anyone is interested in seeing pictures of me taking out the trash in sweatpants.
And I’m not the only one. In today’s world, social media is almost entirely image-based. Instead of sharing interesting ideas or documenting special moments with your friends and family, social media has been taken over by the selfie – especially the hyper-edited selfie. In fact, 30 percent of all photos people aged 18-24 take are selfies, and 35 percent of 18-24 year-olds admit to altering their photos. I will be the first to admit that I have edited my photos. Will I delete a giant zit on my forehead or crop out an unflattering portion of a photo before posting to Instagram? Um, yes…however, I still want my photos to look like me. I’m not a size 0, and I don’t have the perfect supermodel face- and that’s ok. Unfortunately, many magazines and advertisements feature hyper-edited photos of models and celebrities. I’ve seen quite a few celebrities in real life, and while they’re usually strikingly beautiful, they still have flaws. They still suffer with breakouts, cellulite, and wrinkles just like the rest of us; however, they have a team to make them look flawless. If you had your hair and makeup professionally applied, photographed, and Photoshopped each day, you could like a celebrity too!
With the overwhelming abundance of hyper-edited selfies on the internet, young adults are taking a closer look at their own image than ever before. I’ve personally noticed that girls my age are more concerned with how they document an experience on social media than the actual experience itself. Research has shown that selfies lead to decreased intimacy and more shallow relationships. Plus, plastic surgery has risen for patients younger than 30, and the “selfie surgery” is gaining popularity. I’m absolutely not opposed to plastic surgery, but I believe it should be used to enhance your self-image and not to provide self-worth. At the end of the day, if you don’t feel OK with yourself and have a sense of self-worth, no amount of makeup or clothes or editing or plastic surgery will make you happy.
So how can we change the trend in social media from hyper-focusing on our self-image and criticizing others? I think it’s the #TheUsProject. Soffe created #TheUsProject movement to bring us together instead and the celebrate the idea that “we” can be better than “me”. Instead of competing with other girls, let’s build each other up! Instead of worrying about every little flaw in our photos, let’s focus on enjoying the moment with our friends and family. It may be fun to get a ton of likes on an Instagram selfie, but I can guarantee that helping others and creating meaningful relationships is so much more fun! Being popular on social media will not fix your self-confidence issues, but positive relationships can and will. Help your friends and family accomplish their goals, and lend a helping a hand to people who you might consider to be your competition. Kindness and honest work always wins in the end, and it’s a much more pleasant journey to the top than a path filled with criticism, competition, and mean-spirited thoughts towards others. Plus, in the process of building others up, you’ll find that you rise right along with them!
I’m making it my goal to focus on others instead of myself this month, and I’d love for you to help me share Soffe’s #TheUsProject with your friends and family. It doesn’t require promising to never post a selfie again, only to change your attention from creating the perfect photo to creating the perfect moment with your loved ones. The next time you want to post a selfie, post a photo of yourself with your friends or family instead and use the hashtag #TheUsProject! In addition to making a social media a friendlier place, participating in the movement might also help you win some amazing prizes. Soffe will be selecting winners from social media, and they’ll receive awesome #TheUsProject apparel! See, I told you that kindness wins in the end. Together, we can make a more beautiful picture!
How do you feel about selfies?
Thanks to Soffe for sponsoring today’s post.