Instagram vs. Reality

This is a satyrical article about Instagram that I recently found written by a girl named Olivia Muenter. For those of you that don’t know what Instagram is, it is similar to Twitter with the use of hashtags also, but it is a primarily picture based social media app where your “followers” can view, like, or comment on pictures you post. In the article Olivia discusses the selfie picture, shoe picture and the “foodie” picture of a meal that people typically tend to Instagram the most. In the beginning of her humorous article she states, “So I, like most people, post the things that are going to reflect the best aspects of my life and personality. Also my face. Because selfies. Why, yes, I do drink coffee at hip cafes and order things online from J.Crew. Oh, don’t mind me, just a picture of my new Nikes and me heading to spin class. Because I’m fit. Obviously (I’m not). Oh, look! I’m doing a juice cleanse. I buy peonies! I read books! I am well-rounded! I have shoes! You know, the important parts of my life. Anyway, as a sort of confession: here is what I’m really doing in all those Instagrams vs. what I presented to the world. Prepare to be shocked.” 

Olivia is a prime example of what Julie T. Wood discusses in Gendered Lives. In Chapter 11 of the text on the concept of gendered media use Wood states, “Girls and women also perceive media as allowing them to express themselves. They are more likely than boys to blog, create web content, and create profiles on social networking sites. In a recent study, Kate Bodey explored how girls in their late teens use media to develop identities.” What Wood is discussing about this idea relates to exactly what the purpose of Instagram is and specifically what Olivia is talking about in her article about herself and how she uses Instagram to control how people view and think of her based on the pictures she posts.


7 thoughts on “Instagram vs. Reality

  1. I cracked up when I read this article, Heather. I am also oh so guilty of flaunting mainly my positive qualities on Instagram and I wonder when I see half of the photos, “how many times did it take to get that picture?” Or “what was she/he doing when they took that?” The extra effort we take to build a good reputation can be strenuous and at times I wonder why our generation and the new generations to come worry so much about it, it is becoming competitive actually. I am doing my senior seminar project on how social media can affect personal relationships and the idea of “reality” is evident through out all my research. The distinction between what is real and what is fake is dwindling and possibly increasing self esteem problems in young adults. At the same time though, this online world is creating so much revenue and more jobs its hard not to fall into the social media world. It has its pros and cons but the increasing use of technology is where our world is headed and I am more than curious to see what is possible in even the next ten years.

  2. Heather,

    This post was very thought provoking for me because, I was scrolling through my own Instagram the other night and I noticed a trend of different things I have made, random photos of my friends and I, and lastly the “selfie”. I enjoyed the part where this female drew upon her own photos and poked fun at them because she is not following the typical gender norms of a woman. Us as women use these social media outlets to connect with our friends as well as express ourselves, but at the same time I wonder how much these outlets are actually affecting how we interact without them.

  3. Heather,
    I absolutely love your blog post, and for more than one reason! In this day in time, society relies heavily on social media (especially us women) to develop a sense of self, as well as an identity to share with the rest of the world. I could relate to Olivia’s article because I am also guilty of using instagram to “supplement,” I guess you could say, my own identity. In the full article I found a quote that follows, “Instagram, like all social media, is about presenting the ideal version of yourself. It’s not not yourself per se. … It’s more like, all the best parts of you displayed to the world and ignoring all the worst parts.” This exert from the article stood out to me because although I don’t believe most women use instagram or any social media outlet to make a complete fabrication of who they are as a person, I do believe that we use them to highlight what we believe to be our best assets and what will seem to others as desirable experiences. I really enjoyed reading this, good job!

  4. I love this post because it kind of defines my Instagram in a way. I very rarely post pictures of myself either in selfie form or posing. I take a lot of silly pictures or random pictures, but most of the pictures that feature me are with my friends. I don’t like to post anything of myself without my friends because, 1) nobody cares about me posing next to a flower, and 2) I don’t like spending 30 minutes taking and deleting pictures until I get the “perfect” picture because I never look like that in real life. But pictures of me laughing and goofing off with my friends are true, accurate, clear snapshots into my every day life and they are what will make me recognizable when you see me walking to class or to the bar with my friends.

  5. Heather,
    I completely agree with what you have brought up here, and that social media is used so widely for girls to express themselves through. Here is another article that backs that idea up, focusing on how girls develop “EI” or emotional intelligence at an earlier age, and then using social media (they focus mostly on Instagram in this article) to validate their self-expression. Definitely worth checking out, it makes more and more sense as you put all the factors together!

    You may find the article here:

  6. Heather,

    This is a good example of how feminine people use social media. It is also a good example of how people use artifacts to express themselves” (Wood, 2013, p. 143). Artifacts are “personal objects” like clothes, shoes, books or toys that express our identities. In the article you posted, the girl is making fun of her photos on Instagram and Twitter. They express feminine values of physical appearance through eating healthy, exercising and caring about shoes. She says, “Oh, don’t mind me, just a picture of my new Nikes and me heading to spin class. Because I’m fit. Obviously (I’m not). Oh, look! I’m doing a juice cleanse.” But this article says that, while the things she posts are feminine, she doesn’t completely follow gendered norms in real life. This is a good example of how people use social media and artifacts to do gender.

  7. I found this post and article very interesting. I liked that it drew on the connections that girls are most likely to use social media to connect with people. I have noticed this in my own interactions with instagram and facebook. I only want to post things that make me look good, just as Olivia exclaimed. One thing I have learned through my experienced and the article, that our generation has a picture first, experience later mentality. We are all focused on making sure our adventures are known to the world. My question is how is this affecting our social skills, and how is it changing out way of living.
    This is a link to a meme from the show “Two Broke Girls” and ones explanation of twitter and instagram, this topic made me think of it and made me giggle. Felt it was good to share.

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