Social media pages, such as Instagram and Facebook are great ways to showcase what a wonderful life one might have. However, the posts are designed to get the most likes, comments, and ultimately portray a false sense of reality. People post to make others envious, all while trying to fill a void within their own hearts.Instagram model Essena O’Neil used to be one of those individuals. She would take “candid” photos in many different positions, trying to get the right lighting or body angle to adhere to the social standards of being “hot.” O’Neil is now using the massive platform that she built from posting bikini selfies to promote something useful to her followers: what you see on social media is fake.
Most people would not be as confident as O’Neil to speak out against the harms of social media, and at 16 years old, she is doing just that! She says, “Social media isn’t real. It’s purely contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes and dislikes, validation in views, success in followers … it’s perfectly orchestrated judgment. And it consumed me.”
O’Neil has gone back through her social media outlets and has deleted photos and captions that were not consistent with her feelings in the moment. She did this to be an inspiration to other young people that feel insecure, but are too ashamed or embarrassed to be honest about it.
O’Neil has since quit modeling, and is focusing on spreading values that are important to her, such as veganism, environmental preservation, and “being present.” She deserves a round of applause for being so courageous to stand up to the false ideologies of social media! Go check out her new website, www.letsbegamechangers.com for some inspiration!