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Insta-Glam: How we have turned good trends bad

Tuesday March 02 2021
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Expressive make up of how social media can make you lose your sight on everything but social media. PHOTO|FILE

By Lucy Tomeka

Gone are the days where you could just take a picture and post it on Social Media. The pressure to attain perfection is unhealthy and flat out unrealistic.

Looks like we have set standards unknowingly that make impossible to live a normal life. Comfort is no longer something to be proud of.

Girls are victims of this new reality. “I am almost embarrassed to post a picture of my natural self because the bar has been set so high, even my homegirl is doing squats on a regular basis and I just can’t keep up” says Flora Kassim of Alenick Furniture, Dar es Salaam.


Skin is it

“New Millennium is crazy now. Back in the day, you had to close your eyes and imagine what a girl you liked looked like naked. Now almost every girl is naked. I have to make sure my daughter is different. She needs me” Safaree Samuels

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Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder but with social media, it seems like the beholder needs more exposure to see this beauty.

Unfortunately, this is no longer an issue of women’s bodies being used and exposed. There is consent in the form of these women actually being the perpetrators of this nudity trend.

However, in all fairness, men alike have also fallen prey to this trend. Every day you open your Instagram or Facebook feeds, there is a picture -or ten, of shirtless men in all sorts of setups, from your usual sweaty-man-off-the-field to that ripped gentleman making a cocktail shirtless.

Showing more skin in the name of glamour is no excuse either to the deteriorating messages that are sent out to younger viewers.

It may be normal in the United States for Lady Gaga to show up at the Grammys in a meat outfit but that does not necessarily mean in our local community, it will be deemed artistic.

Sufficing to say, I do believe everyone is uniquely beautiful in their own uniqueness without needing to expose so much skin but what does Insta-Glam have to say on that?


The Thick Trend

If at any point upon reading this, you said to yourself that it can’t get worse, sorry to pop your bubble. I’m here to tell you that it does.

This need to seem politically correct to the west and go in line with thoughts that perpetuate obesity or moral degeneration is the only crippling factor that unites all platforms.

“Be thicker” they said. The thicker the berry, the juicier it is. The need to be thicker because it is now deemed that thick girls are the idea of beauty as opposed to the formal skinny is beautiful guide is not just confusing, it is unhealthy.

Ladies are now looking for more and more ways to get thick because god-forbid your Fashion Nova outfit doesn’t fit you right or Beyonce’s Icy Park doesn’t shape you in all the right places.

Social Media platforms are flooded with sponsored adverts of quick fixes to get the shape you want, tone up your muscles, lose weight in all the right place or jack up your biceps with a variety of shakes, pills, syrups and exercise plans. The choice is entirely yours.

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Men have also fallen to the appearence influences of social media . PHOTO|FILE

It would be unfair not to mention at this point that this trend begun as a positive movement to help plus-sized women feel better about themselves. For the longest time, bigger women were shamed for their size and many lived in low self-confidence and self-esteem.

A lot of these women faced ridicule and developed different depression, anxiety and complexity issues.

Awareness to help these women came in many forms like Rihanna’s Fenty line modelling show where she had plus-sized women model her lingerie line. In Tanzania, many fashion shows of late have been seen hiring plus-sized women as well.

Like everything good, the trend did pick up and somewhere along the line got severely distorted into what is now being considered body goals.

Morphed into one immoral baby, plus-sized women have taken this trend and the “more skin” trend and created a space that leaves innocent minded girls completely confused with the need to fit in.


Illusionists

It would be completely remiss of me to overlook the good of social media. With so much content being shared every second across all these platforms, we have also seen emerging talents and skills that people are also using to fund their lifestyles and earn a livelihood.

Makeup artists with insane skill levels are constantly creating looks that are as surreal as you can imagine. Photographers are taking photos and creating effects that seem to jump right at you.

Painters are creating masterpieces the likes of which Picasso could only dream of while sculptors are making pieces to give Michelangelo a run for his money.

Builders and innovators are constantly leaving us with our jaws dropped all the way down.


So who are you?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to you, how well you know yourself and how confident you are deep down.

Social media can and will pressure you to do something out of your norm every once in a while but if it is what rules your lifestyle, choices and decision-making skills, I do suggest that you check yourself and evaluate your priorities.

Understand that a lot of factors make you who you are. If you have fallen victim to the thick trend and you have reached a point of obesity, consider your next choices carefully or keep putting your health at risk for a few measly likes.

Studies have shown that in Tanzania, obesity has been shown to be higher among urban men and women compared to their rural counterparts, ever wondered why? These numbers have continued to pick up with urbanised women in the country taking all sorts of pills, shakes and even surgery to increase their weight and shape to fit with the trend.

It is okay to post your best on Instagram but guess what, that alone doesn’t define who you are - try not to take it too seriously so you don’t lose yourself for the gram. Do not live above your means either just to impress social media because there is a life besides social media.

Tanzania is a morally reserved country and the prospect of Insta-Glam threatens the moral codes that the society goes by. This does not mean anyone is barred from using these platforms.

However, freedom to use these requires one to be of sound understanding of how their content impacts their image in the incessant desire to show more skin while in the case of the thick trend, the health risks that one opens themselves up to by trying to please their fellow insta-glam users.

Be comfortable with how far you can go with social media, and let no one’s social media account determine your whole life.

Social media is just like any business venture, they sell you what they want you to see. That is never the whole truth.