- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 12 October 2016
- Written by MARIA SOLDO | STAFF WRITER
Just one simple hashtag subconsciously posted by one person could have the biggest effect on another person. Other hashtags, such as #fitgoals or #relationshipgoals can negatively affect the way we view ourselves and relationships.
For the person who posted the #transformationtuesday picture, it is positive feeling for them because they had some sort of significant transformation, which is typically a weight loss transformation. But for others, such a post can be either motivational or detrimental. Many of us feel that we must live up to the images and content that we see on social media. If an overweight individual views a #transformationtuesday post with one hundred plus “likes”, it gives her the idea that she needs to also be physically fit to get that amount of “likes”. Furthermore, if she does not then she will feel bad about herself. Not only does this occur with social media, but it is also very common in magazines. Girls who are far from being plus size are labeled as plus size just because they have hips and shape to their body. According to the fashion industry, a size 12 is considered plus size. So, girls who are not plus size will now believe they are, and that can greatly affect their confidence.
Having struggled in the past with weight and self-esteem, I know how certain Instagram posts and hashtags can have a significant effect on you. In high school, I was slightly overweight, extremely disgusted with myself and lacked confidence. I hated looking in the mirror and I wore big, baggy clothes to appear less overweight. All of my friends were skinny and I wanted to be skinny like them. All of my friends were ridiculously confident and I wanted to be confident like them. On Facebook and Instagram, I would see pictures of friends and peers, happy and confident through their high school career. About midway through my junior year, I decided I wanted to gain some confidence and lose all the weight. I tried everything, Weight Watchers, Thin Zone, Curves, you name it. With those programs, I either gained weight or remained or the same. I felt hopeless, and the fitness pages I followed on Instagram at the time were no help either. I did not start making progress until senior year when I joined the track team. Once I started making progress, the fitness related hashtags that once diminished my confidence were now motivational.
#Relationshipgoals is another hashtag that affects the way we view relationships and alters our perception of the perfect relationship. On Facebook, there are always links to pages like “15 Signs He’s the One” or “Someone Who Actually Gives a Damn About You Will Do These 10 Things.” If a girl reads the “15 Signs” article and not all of them are true, she may now believe he is not the one. On Instagram, there are always posts of those lovey dovey couples with boyfriends that buy their girlfriends flowers and cook romantic candlelit dinners for them. While those are very sweet, thoughtful gestures of a boyfriend to do for his girlfriend, not all guys are going to do that; every relationship is different, and that is exactly what sophomore Kait Gravatt and junior Brie D’Ambrosia said. “For #relationshipgoals, people view them as how a relationship should be, but every relationship is different. Just because he didn’t fill your car with balloons or buy 100 roses on your birthday doesn’t mean that person doesn’t love you or appreciate youSimilar to what Kait and Brie believe, Natalie Toro, a junior biology and pre-medical student conceptualizes the following idea, “Everyone is trying to have their relationship live to a standard and if it doesn’t reach that standard then they feel that their relationship has failed when in reality, those standards are fixated and false.”
Professor Mary Harris, a specialist professor in public relations and communication believes, “Hashtags are certainly part of building online identities/brands and how social media users interact with one another as well as how they participate in social movements. It is part of the larger picture of social media trends and norms, which consists of many variables, that can affect users’ self-esteem as well as how they view relationships.” Hashtags formulate an online conversation that in many cases brings individuals together, but they also have the ability to make people feel isolated and distant from the “standards” of our society.
Despite the fact that we are surrounded by social media and hashtags, it is crucial to remember that your weight does not define you and just because your boyfriend doesn’t do the cute things others would, doesn’t mean you aren’t loved.
IMAGES TAKEN from www.tumblr.com
PHOTO COURTESY of Amanda Gangidino