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As a woman, growing up in a generation that has been framed by social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and many more has been quite interesting. On one hand, it keeps you relatively connected to anybody from your childhood best friend’s mom to celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Ariana Grande; however, on the other hand, it causes major self-esteem issues and the severe objectification of women.
On the topic of social media outlets, let’s talk about Instagram. You wake up and the first thing you do is check your notifications on your smartphone. Emails, calls, and texts are usually the priority - but then you hit social media. You open up Instagram and see your favorite influencer is on yet another trip with her significant other all paid for by some makeup brand trying to establish brand loyalty and maintain influencer relationships. You envy that they get to go on this stunning trip with their beautiful body eating whatever they’d like (so it seems) and still somehow looking phenomenal. You get up and you take a look at yourself and to be quite honest, you feel like shit. You are up in the wee hours of the morning to get ready and go to 12 hours of class that you paid 70k for. After class, you go to work for another 4 hours. You want to go to the gym, but you don’t have the time or the energy after your long day. You want to eat healthy, but healthy food is so expensive and your tuition costs so much you have fast food for dinner - again. You get home and you’re exhausted, you check Instagram and you see the same influencer has jetted off to yet another idyllic location on your bucket list. What a bummer. You put your phone down and go to bed... but not everybody does what you do when they feel envious.
What you don’t see is the mistreatment she has to endure for posting that bikini picture in Capri or that video of her dancing in Barcelona. According to her comments, narrow minded women label her things from “a whore with no talent” to stating things like “what will your children say when these half naked posts of their mother come back to haunt them?”. Men on the other hand will hide behind the screen in another way by commenting absolutely disgusting things that sexually objectify women. I’ve personally seen anything from “the things I would do to you...” all the way to blatantly stating “I wanna f**k you”. What completely baffles me is what do you expect her to do? See those comments and be like “oh you’re so right I am a whore with no talent, won’t one of these 53 year old men please whisk me away to their parents garage?”.
Growing up in the digital age is both a blessing and a curse. We are able to lift each other up and show support to complete strangers for owning their body or being confident. At the same time, there seems to be more hate online than ever. We are staying connected through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube - but at what cost? Sometimes I wonder if life would be better without all these social media outlets where people could actually interact with each other face to face and no longer hid behind a screen.
Elina Hakobyan, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s media law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: Does social media empower women, or does it facilitate the objectification of women? The class covers copyright and social media. Elina is an Integrated Marketing Communications major.
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