Bring Back Casual Instagram! | Aimee Han
Once upon a time…a long long time ago, Instagram was no more than a mere social page to share pictures with your friends of you eating breakfast, or a video of you on a casual stroll, or even the occasional fun selfie. Flash forward to today, Instagram is undoubtedly a social networking platform, in which the “common” people portray their lives in the most perfect way possible. Meanwhile “influencers” on the app promote detox teas, audible apps, or their “personality” in order to gauge interest, compliments, and external validation. Not to be entirely too dramatic, but what happened? Yes, I understand the transition from Millennials to Generation Z, the advancement of technology increasing pixelation perfection and this and that. But, to be completely honest, I wholeheartedly rather see the scones, bacon, and burrito you had for breakfast than what you look like at your finest moment. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely look drop dead gorgeous, but it is when we stop idealizing and aspiring for “perfection” that we truly can begin to look within ourselves and appreciate the beauty of our monotonous routines or imperfections.
So, I propose to you something wild. How about, we bring back casual Instagram? Does it sound terrifying and far too radical for you? Well, hear me out.
Casual Instagram does not mean that we have to spam our stories or our feeds with everything we do every single second of the day. That’s something we should leave behind in the early 2000’s or MySpace days, just like we should have left behind misogyny and biker shorts. The term “casual” is essentially defined as something relaxed and unconcerned with the unrealistic expectations and beauty standards society constructs, deconstructs, and reconstructs every few years. Instead, why don’t we post whatever our heart wishes to post, psychologically free from the fear of invalidation or negative judgement from our peers, in which a picture speaks a thousand words and shows us our true colors. If you’re passionate about collecting crystals, post about it! If you’re passionate about singing, post a video about it! If you’re passionate about Harry Potter, find some clever way to incorporate it into your feed and post about it! If you take a selfie that makes your ex-significant other regret their decision (and possibly whole life) to break up with you, post it! The possibilities are endless, so why should we let our fears of being perceived negatively by others influence what parts of ourselves we choose to reveal to the world?
Nevertheless, it’s heartwarming to see this trend gaining traction amongst us youngsters, as quarantine forces us to become isolated with our own personalities and thoughts, which has most certainly led us to self-introspection and growth. Personally speaking, I thoroughly enjoy internet stalking hundreds of people and seeing fun pictures of koi fish in ponds, Hello Kitty themed cakes, and funny selfies with their friends reappearing on their page. At the end of the day, it’s our own personalities and identities we have to live with, so we might as well use our power to choose how we want to live our lives. That’s how the whole narrative changes, and Instagram no longer becomes a place of perpetuating unrealistic expectations, but it becomes a safe place for people to foster connections to not only their loved ones, but their past, current, and future self.