Having made social media not only a part of my private life but also a vital component of my working day I click through thousands of updates, tweets and pictures daily. Friends and strangers flash across my screen and I reward them with smiley faces and hearts galore. Often I leave comments and compliments. Mostly because I want to and sometimes because I feel I have to.
One thing I’ve noticed is that we women are very encouraging towards each other online. Yes, there are trolls and keyboard warriors who take pleasure in creating negativity and crushing others, but for the most part, I see kindness and compliments between female friends in the digital world of social media. We help each other out and raise each other up.
I think most of us are aware that this universe of snapshots to a certain extent is only a tiny (and shiny!) reflection of a full life, yet we embrace the delicious food, the beautiful views, the cute kids, the designer outfits, the toned bodies and perfect pouts as they appear in our feeds.
REAL QUEENS FIX EACH OTHER’S CROWNS
The other day I spotted a quote on Instagram. It said “Real Queens fix each other’s Crowns” and it made me think. Do we support other women enough in real life? Or are we guilty of gossiping about others behind their back? Criticising their appearance when they can’t hear us?
Would you point out a flaw in a friend knowing it would help her? And at the same time do you remember to compliment your fellow female in real life the way you do online?
Have you ever been in a situation where the person opposite you had something stuck in their teeth? Did you tell them? Would you point out to a stranger on the train that they had forgotten to take the tag off their new dress and it was currently on show? Or do you ever give someone a compliment even if you don’t know them?
A lot of us would answer no to these questions. For various reasons but mostly because it makes us feel uncomfortable. On social media people choose what to post and what they want the world to see, they can edit out the flaws and they are prepared for the reactions. We are allowed to compliment them. In real life, you might not be ready for a stranger suddenly raving about your toned arms or swooning over your long eyelashes. Yet if we put our embarrassment aside we can truly make someone’s day. Especially as that someone might be fretting over their mum-tum, thinning hair or sagging boobs and have forgotten how truly beautiful they still look.
WHY WE DO IT AND HOW TO CHANGE?
Often I think it’s rooted in insecurity. We haven’t learned to love our own bodies so it helps to find flaws in others to make us feel better. It’s possible that we have been taught to compete for the male gaze and so we put each other down with hatred and body shaming. This is encouraged by magazines and a twisted celebrity culture engulfed by paparazzi on the hunt for the best… or worst… snap of a famous person in a compromising situation.
So how can we change this? How can we learn from social media with its likes and hearts?
Well, we can start right now! Learning to love ourselves might be a lifelong process put as a first step we can stop putting others down and stop criticising our fellow women and how they look. Why not start by seeking out their beauty, look for the positive and be known as someone who throws kindness and compliments around like confetti. Make them sincere though. Spend time really looking. Engage with other women. Encourage their strengths and find fulfilment in liking and loving their real image the way you do their online presence.