Learning from our Basimbi (young women) feature
What comes to your mind when you hear that phrase ?
Perhaps you think of Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, just a few of the many apps used to connect with people from all around the globe. I think of innovation, revolutions, communities and movements. However, as a fifteen-year-old female it’s becoming increasingly harder to not be exposed to the harmful and unhealthy dark side that social media has within our society.
From around the age of 12, I was given the opportunity to navigate the intricate ways of Instagram. As a young child I found it fascinating to upload my own images for all my friends to see, I would watch my phone glow with notifications informing me that people had liked and commented on my very own photos. It made me feel known, as though people really knew about me and liked me enough to interact with my page.
We, as humans, are vulnerable to social approval, meaning that we are always given, or sometimes search for feedback. As a young child, social media was fun to me. It was a way to see what my friends and idols were getting up to, what they had for dinner, their new clothes or even their favourite song at the current time. If used correctly, it can become an amazing way to interact with people in a safe way.
However, I was only young when I was enjoying social media, I wasn’t worried about what I looked like, why would I? There aren’t many beauty standards for 12-year-olds. Reaching around the ages of 14 and 15 I was saturated in technology. I felt as though there was a benchmark that had to be met when posting a picture online. Every wisp of hair had to sit perfectly, the angle would have to showcase the best side of my face and the lighting had to be natural because I didn’t want people knowing the amount of effort I put into my pictures. If I had a spot on my face I would wait until it was gone to snap a selfie because of course people couldn’t know that I, a teenager going through puberty, had spots. Looking at people’s social media accounts I felt the knock-on effect of their perfect pictures. I thought ‘If their pictures are perfect then mine have to be’ without selfishly thinking of the next person to see my picture and the knock-on effect it would have had on them. I, like most people my age I’m sure, became addicted to comparison. I often looked past all the photoshop and filters other people were using and just decided that they were prettier than me and there was nothing I could do about it.
That couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I started learning about the specifics of social media. How a lot of companies manipulate your timeline and orchestrate when people see your photos. I realised that we only see a small snippet of somebody’s life, the highlights of their week. It is pointless to compare your behind the scenes with other people’s glamourous fake life. I began looking at the value of myself and what I can do to make myself a better person without measuring myself to other people. I had to measure myself with myself. How do you determine somethings value? You compare it to better or to worse things. Start improving yourself to get the best version of you. Use your bad days to reflect on how you are going to improve yourself. We are all persuadable and influenceable, it’s a natural occurrence, so start surrounding yourself with content creators that don’t force you to measure yourself against them or shove their photoshopped pictures down your throat every second making you believe this is how they live their life 24/7. Be aware that most of the pictures on your Instagram feed, or uploads to Facebook are a very small portion of somebody’s life. And it’s important to know that you don’t have to fit in to the so called beauty standard based on the people in your feed.
I think social media is a great way to get motivated, learn new things and communicate with everyone. It can be a very toxic place to be on when growing up, however, it only becomes dangerous when you begin to question your worth. Use it to educate yourself or educate somebody else. Use it to learn a new hairstyle or a new language. Use it to watch a new fitness routine or tips on how to eat healthy. Use it to watch your favourite YouTubers or the newest show that’s out.
But remember, YOU are in control. Don’t get stuck on the dark and corrupt side of social media.
About the #Basimbi (Learning from our Young Women) Blog Feature :
The first of our #basimbi (young women) blog is supported by The Girls Network mentoring scheme. 'Addicted to Comparisons?' has been written by Antonia Wintson. Antonia is currently finishing up her GSCE's this year and is on track to study her A level's at college. Her desire is to continue to study Psychology at University. Antonia has a huge passion in writing, listening to music and taking long walks with her dog in the forest. She also has a love for podcasts and watching movies. Antonia's mentor, Komal Helyer has over 20 years experience in email and digital marketing. VP Marketing at Pure360, Komal leads the Go-to-Market, Retention and Brand strategies at Pure360. Komal's passion to support greater diversity in the workplace is the driving force behind her commitment to mentoring individuals in the industry. She has been nominated for many awards and was proud to win Corporate Woman of the Year '19 at the Business Woman's Excellence Awards.
Lead Author : Kelly Marie Baker
Kelly-Marie is a tree loving, free spirited mum of two. Based in Southsea, she leads her family on a Home Education journey, learning from life and the world around them. Over the years her creative soul has been fed with the likes of poetry, dance, choreography and, more recently, writing. Her writing is predominantly focused on personal growth and development with a special interest in using the platform to challenge social norms and provoke deep thought. Kelly believes that The Arts are an immensely important tool to communicate complex and delicate issues and is proud to be collaborating with Pamodzi Creatives. Kelly’s favourites are nature, travel, personal development and coffee…all the coffee!