The youth of today are basically born with a smart phone in hand. They are raised measuring their worth through perfectly styled “candid” photographs and how many likes, comments and compliments they can get becomes their one and only priority. As a parent – this is a hugely troubling and even on a basic human level it’s scary to know that not all kids are going to have the wake up call that social media superstar, Essena O’Neill, preached in her recent vlog.
Essena made her living by posing in pretty clothes with killer backdrops of waterfalls, beaches, or lush green palm trees, sharing said photos with 600,000+ Instagram followers. Getting paid hundreds of dollars to wear dresses, pose, and post to social media in an act of shameless self promotion was her job description. At the very young age of 18, she really had it all, according to modern standards. Then one day she decided it just wasn’t what she wanted to do anymore.
“I would just spend hours looking at everyone else’s perfect lives and I strived to make mine look just as good…”
In her recent vlog, she rather emotionally confessed to the camera that her so-called “candid” photos were paid advertisements that actually took hours to get just the right angle with the perfect lighting to showcase products that she didn’t use or wear herself in real life. She took to her Instagram profile and deleted over 2000 images but re-captioned a few she left behind and changed her profile description to “Social Media Is Not Real Life.”
While some people think that Essena’s announcement is simply a publicity stunt, we think it brings up a lot of important issues about how we all connect to each other not to mention the self esteem and body issues that plague the young women of today. She’s not wrong when she says that it’s not really talked about and she’s not wrong about the media losing focus on the true message behind what she said.
“I spent everyday looking at a screen, viewing and comparing myself to others. It’s easier to look at shiny and pretty things that appear happy than stopping and just getting real with yourself.”
She’s since deleted her YouTube and Instagram accounts but her site, letsbegamechangers.com, is live and updated with new content every day.