A few weeks ago, I received a text from a follower who is based out of Toronto. A part of her message read something like – “I really wished I had a life like yours.” She is a banker by profession, independent and lives miles away from her family in India. I have also archived another Direct Message from a young seventeen-year-old who complained to me once that her hips are too big for high waist pants. She asked me how I look so perfect in all my outfits despite being short.
I started a fashion blog when I was just 24 and it was simply out of curiosity to explore blogging. The first few years I was constantly struggling to create content that showed that version of myself that gets most positive feedback and ‘likes’. A balanced Instagram feed of perfect outfits, food flatlays, and full-face-of-makeup selfies always made me feel that my content is being valued. Instagram is an app that was meant for people to share snippets of their lives and work that could help them build a small community based on their interests. But, it slowly became a breeding ground of competition of whose feed and lives look more aspirational than the others. It has created an invisible pressure of meticulously curating pictures based on things we like, or more often than not, things we know other people will like—or be envious of.
It was only early last year when I was going through a personal life crisis, I pressed pause to this far-from-reality content creation game. This was also the time I was growing insecure about the crippling comparison of bloggers’ Instagram feeds. It was so hard combatting imposter syndrome and battling the waves of self-doubt that was making my already stressful life much worse.
Social media is a gaping hole for thriving fake lifestyles and beauty standards for women. The fashion and beauty industry along with creators are only encouraging this mindset. I too feel responsible for it in a small way. “There is so so much to life than being attractive and appearance is not everything.” I know we hear of this all the time. But when almost all creators and brands are focused on selling us the idea of perfect skin, bodies and an unreal lifestyle, these words begin to lack purpose.
After a brief blogging sabbatical and being in the company of inspiring books and people, I taught myself to create content that emanates positivity, that is relatable and is comforting. It didn’t take me long before I realized lifestyle-blogging is not just documenting perfect moments, outfits and lifestyle. It is so much more than that. I started to take a moment every time before hitting publish on a post to think what kind of emotion it would trigger in a reader. That was the beginning of conscious-content creation on my blog and Instagram. I was gradually being drawn to wearable fashion, raw and unfiltered Instagram stories and the You-do-You attitude that I have always believed in.
However, as a creator, I do not think there is anything wrong with having perfectly curated images on your channels. The issue is in the way most women-creators project beauty and a lifestyle that is far from reality. It’s not what we put out there but how we put out there. It’s high time creators start taking content-creation more responsibly by being aware of the impact their content is creating emotionally in their audience. This is a small yet conscious step that can do wonders to a lot of lives you touch upon on an everyday basis.
For over a year, I have consciously maintained a relatable mix of candid moments, chatter and some perfectly shot images on my Instagram. Sure, it has lost me followers and some brand collaborations but all for the sake of sharing a “real” gram and being true and relatable to my readers. It took me a while to start sharing raw unedited content online, but when people reached out to me and told me they can identify with my story, it made the switch worth it.
If you are a creator, you probably realize that social media is a brilliant platform for harnessing creativity and I know you do not owe your real raw version to anyone and that is completely fine. All I am trying to say is when you have built a significant audience, there is a responsibility in what we share and how we share.