Representation Matters When Scrolling Through Instagram

As #RepresentationMatters has been trending throughout the media, you may not realize the little things you can do to push representation of your own image across on your Instagram feed. We’ve all been there, scrolling past picture after picture of unfairly perfect Instagram influencers. And while it can be fun for a minute or two, how many times do we exit the app feeling insecure and wishing we can change our own features to mimic theirs?

According to one study, increased engagement on Instagram can be linked with desired thinness, resulting in a lower self-esteem and perceived body image. Moreover, the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, Shirley Crammer,has said that Instagram can be a source of inadequacy and anxiety. And it’s no wonder why. 

We spend so much time following Instagrammers that don’t represent ourselves, not only racially, but in our body types, skin, or hair. 

As a curly haired girl, the integration of influencers with spirals similar to mine was integral in the acceptance of my curls. After years of seeing girls around me and on social media with cool, sleek, straight hair, I felt pressured to straighten (and heavily damage) my curls. Straightening my hair meant increasing my beauty. Otherwise, it’d feel like my frizzy curls were dimmed in an unflattering light. Seeing so many sleek hairstyles on Instagram only made me want to pick up the flat iron even more, only to become increasingly frustrated by my hair’s stubborn ability to remain straight for an extended period of time. Because when all you see around you is straight hair, it becomes the standard that you feel pressured to live up to. Only, I didn’t realize how many forms beauty can hold. 

With millions of social media users throughout the globe, various representations of beauty are showcased. All you have to do is find them. 

It wasn’t until I started following curly-haired Instagrammers that I began to appreciate my curls. The more that curly hair appeared on my screen, the more normalized it became and the more confident I felt. I saw more beauty encompassed in my spirals. Seeing all these beautiful influencers on Instagram with some of the same features that I have made me realize that I am beautiful too. You’re not the only one who has those insecurities, and they don’t make you any less beautiful. Because if there are influencers who attain thousands of likes and comments with features just like yours, then they must be at least somewhat attractive.

We’ve seen the impact of movies like "Black Panther" and "Crazy Rich Asians," shedding the light on the importance of representation. With the numerous hours we spend on social media, why not assimilate that same idea onto Instagram as well? 

Instagram is characterized by its large collection of influencers, garnering thousands of likes and comments of adoration. When you’re not being represented in that group of beautiful people, you begin to look more critically at yourself, decrementing your self-esteem and body image. Once representation is more implemented into that group, you start to feel more special, more beautiful. Your insecurities may start to become replaced by acceptance.

To help you get started, here are some influential Instagrammers that gorgeously exemplify underrepresented forms of beauty: 

Captivating Curls 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jasmine Brown (@jasmeannnn) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by JOYJAH ESTRADA (@joyjah) on

Alluring with Acne 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Em Ford (@mypaleskinblog) on

Hijab Gorgeousness 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Amena (@amenakhan) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by AYSHA HARUN (@ayshaharun) on

Black and Beautiful 

 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shalom Blac (@shalomblac) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nyma (@nymatang) on

Asian and Attractive

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mi-Anne Chan 昌綿 (@mianne.chan) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by justine mae biticon (@justinemaebiticon) on

Beautiful Body Rolls 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by KhrystyAna (@khrystyana) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by T E S S (@tessholliday) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by the thicc (@thethiccgram) on

Disabled and Divine 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mama Cāx (@mamacaxx) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Imogen Fox  (@the_feeding_of_the_fox) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sitting Pretty (@sitting_pretty) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Angel Giuffria | Cyborg🤖 (@aannggeellll) on

Terrific and Transgender

 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ryan Cassata (@ryancassata) on

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by GeenaRocero (@geenarocero) on

 

 

Representation does not automatically equal self-worth, but it can help you along your path to self-love. Following influencers representative of yourself may help you learn to love your insecurities. 

After all, if you’re going to spend hours on Instagram you might as well follow influencers that will heighten your self-image instead of diminishing it.