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My Struggle With Feeling Valuable in the Age of Social Media

I am very fortunate and privileged to live in the country I do in the time period that I do. Although problems of inequality and sexism continue to exist, my life as a Canadian woman is full of plentiful opportunity and I have the power to make decisions for myself. I have always felt supported by my family, and have strong women to look up to. In my sorority, I am surrounded by a variety of successful and badass women. 

That said, I still find it difficult to feel completely confident as a woman

I largely believe this has to do with the rise of social media. Like most people my age, I begin and end my day online. The app I tend to use most is Instagram, and it’s also the one that tends to make me feel the worst. Everywhere I look, there seems to be a woman around my age that is far more successful than me. She has her own company, works with and is sponsored by fabulous companies, is traveling around the world, has an amazing boyfriend, and defined abs. I know and have been told time and again that we cannot trust what we see online as everyone puts their best self forward, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re staring at hundreds of pictures like this each day. 

It seems that although women are largely liberated in North America, we are still being held to incredibly high standards. Not only do you have to be the gorgeous girl with a flawless body, but you also have to be the top of your class, have completed several internships, and have your dream job lined up by the time you’re 25. If you’re not constantly in motion and constantly bettering yourself, it feels like you’re failing. I find it completely overwhelming sometimes, to the point of just wanting to crawl into bed and forget about the world. I should mention that the pressures of social media impact everyone, not just women, but I can only speak from my experiences.  

In honour of International Women’s Day, I want to challenge myself to stop thinking this way. I challenge myself to remember that no one is perfect, and that every journey is different. I think it’s important to detach from the glam and beauty of online personas and remember that everyone is human and with faults. We have to keep in mind that although you may not be at a place in your life that someone else is, it doesn’t mean that you’re behind. And, maybe their journey isn’t right for you. 

I find it funny that we talk to ourselves in a way that we would never talk to a friend (or even an enemy!). We treat ourselves with disdain and criticism, never feeling like we are good enough. When I talk to my friends or family, it’s with love and encouragement. Why don’t we talk to ourselves this way? 

I still don’t have all the answers, and I know treating yourself better comes with time and is not an easy fix, but I think that acknowledging the problem is the first step. As women, we are pitted against eachother from a young age and tend to view one another competitively. Something that being a part of a sorority has taught me is that we should learn that each woman–each person–has something valuable and unique to offer the world and should be celebrated, including you. You are special and wonderful and valuable

This International Women’s Day, strive to remember in the midst of all of the incredible women being celebrated that you too are worth celebrating, and perfection doesn’t exist. And that thought, hopefully, will help us all be more confident women. Confident not because of what our resumes may say or how cohesive our Instagram feed is, but confident because of who we are without those things. 

 

Gifs taken from giphy.com 

 

Samantha is a third year UBC student majoring in Political Science. Samantha loves any kind of tea, drawing, reading, and traveling to new places. Her favourite thing to do is play with animals and write stories. One day, she hopes to have traveled to every continent.
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