If one is confident
In one’s body,
Why does one
Need to post it on Instagram?
You know the body confident
By how infrequently they talk about their bodies.
Once again, the context matters, from Nancy Jo Sales’s American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, an exchange between three teenagers being interviewed for the book:
“‘But sometimes I think girls post those kind of pictures because they’re proud of their bodies,’ Victoria countered. ‘Body-shaming is a big issue. A lot of people will do, like, the “confident body challenge.”‘
[. . .]
‘I remember one picture where people were a little bit alarmed by it,’ Victoria said. ‘It was a girl we know on Instagram, she had a bra on but she wasn’t wearing a shirt. She wrote in her caption how she was beginning to feel more confident about her body and learning to not care about what people think. I guess I did like the message. I’m happy she’s accepting herself–and she should, she’s pretty; and even if she isn’t pretty, she should still feel confident about herself. I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed of their body or posting a picture.’
Sophia scoffed. ‘Girls post pictures of their bodies and say they’re body positive and everyone’s like, You’re so beautiful,’ she said. ‘But they’re not body confident–they’re Photoshopping their bodies and editing their pictures. They say they’re confident in their bodies, which is totally ironic–if you have to post a picture of yourself on Instagram to feel confident, then you’re not.’
Victoria considered that a moment. ‘Well, it’s supposed to show you’re confident,’ she said. And then: ‘But actually it makes me feel less confident when I see those girls. I’m like, Oh, I’m not as skinny as that, oh my God, she’s so pretty. It makes me compare myself sometimes if it’s a really skinny girl. I wish I looked like her.’
‘It’s like, Oh, look at me, I love food, I’m body confident,’ Riley said, ‘and here I am eating this hamburger and I look really skinny doing it.’
‘I think it’s just so boys can look at it–it’s all for boys,’ Sophia said.
‘I don’t think it’s always consciously for guys,’ said Riley. ‘But if guys weren’t on Instagram I don’t think I’d care that much about it. A like from a guy is definitely bigger than a like from a girl.’
‘How you look is all anybody cares about anymore,’ Sophia insisted, becoming a bit agitated. ‘Being beautiful nowadays is seen as way better than being smart. It’s terrible. Like if you’re a supermodel on Instagram, everyone loves you. Like I do this, too, so I can’t judge: if I find a supermodel on Instagram, I’ll comment like, I love you so much. Even though they haven’t done anything to help the world and they’re literally just standing there looking pretty. People love them just ’cause they’re beautiful. And like, being smart–no one cares about that. If people aren’t pretty nowadays, they’re done with their life. Like, Oh my God, I’m not pretty, I can’t live life.” (p. 67-69).