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As I scrolled through Instagram a few days ago, images from a friend’s photoshoot caught my eye. I love fashion so I went through them, and then checked out the handles of the make-up artists.

Before I knew it I’d gone down a technicolour rabbit hole, only to emerge 40 minutes later, mildly irked and throwing myself a little pity-party.

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Now before I get to why, I’d like to shed some light on my relationship with social media: some days I feel like it’s the best darn thing in the world, while other days it makes me feel uninteresting, frumpy and inadequate.

This day was one of the latter — I saw a photo I wish I’d shot, an outfit I wish I owned and a success story I wished was mine; letting myself feel badly about my own life, despite the many great things about it.

Is this a dangerous path to take? Of course. I’m well-aware of the fact that the lives we portray on social media are – for the most part – filtered. They’re put together to create a certain perception of ourselves.

In fact, I recently found out a friend’s rosy relationship as she portrays on social media is far from it in reality, and it truly drove the point home: a person’s social media ain’t the whole story.

No judgment here; I may not agree with other people’s choices but it is their prerogative how they use a platform and what they choose to put on it. Despite knowing this and my better judgment, I get bummed out once in a way. And after a little analysis, I’ve traced this back to my issues with self-esteem or lack thereof.

I grew up feeling like nothing I did was good enough, oftentimes being compared to my peer group; I’ve carried that with me, even though I’ve re-wired myself for the most part.

On a tough day when I’m feeling particularly raw, it flares up and social media does me no favours. This is precisely why I fell in love with the #BadPictureMonday movement.

#BadPictureMonday: What’s That?

A hashtag created specifically to share photos that aren’t considered conventionally attractive – with the body rolls, the eye bags, the facial hair, the unflattering angles, while defying the (unreasonable) norms social media users have set and continue to feed into.

Who started it? Sonya Renee Taylor, the boss-lady who runs “The Body is Not An Apology,” a website dedicated to empowering bodies everywhere.

Tanya Sharma, news editor at Hindustan Times stresses, “#BadPictureMonday shows people what’s real in a world of filters. It’s so easy to believe everyone’s flawless; no one posts their bad days, their shitty food and their sweaty faces. So, it’s important to remind people that that’s not real.”

Why the Hashtag?

I think it’s an important reminder for anyone that’s turned green with social media envy before: that no one’s perfect. Ask illustrator Harjyot Khalsa who says, “For me, it’s a way of getting rid of the idea that I need to look perfect all the time. What does that mean anyway?”

Indeed; the hashtag allows images to tell stories of special moments that may not be ‘pretty’: a group picture after winning a sports match or a photograph where your face is contorted and your teeth look weird because of how hard you’re laughing. Those frames are nuanced, showing the world who you really are, funny faces and all.

Above all, it encourages body positivity, diversity and self-love. And while ideally we shouldn’t need a hashtag to celebrate ourselves, it’s a start — one I’ll take happily.

Image Credit: Imagesbazaar

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