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Poll: Have you been making an effort to share a more honest version of yourself online?

It can be a slow process.

I’VE NEVER BEEN adverse to sharing gruesome throwback shots of my childhood, adolescence and teenage years on social media. 

Case in point:

PastedImage-51258 Source: Instagram/niamhomac

If Sunday Night Fear was a person. #SundayFear #IrishChildhood #DontHateMeCosYouAintMe

However, this approach certainly didn’t apply to every photo I chose to upload of myself.

Indeed, since the advent of social media I always tried to ensure that any current upload was half decent if not better, depending on society’s standards and my self-perception at the time.

Over the course of the last couple of years however, my concern in that regard began rapidly waning.

Yes, I still post photos where I look groomed or insufferably gratified, but I’ve also taken to uploading shots where I look about as far away from that representation as you can get.

This has, however, been a slow process.

In fact, I remember a moment on New Year’s Day 2014 when I uploaded and then immediately deleted a hugely unflattering hungover selfie, despite the fact I found the image funny and the message comforting.

The photo couldn’t have been online for more than five minutes before I deleted it, and there is little doubt that years of internalising certain standards provoked that particular thumb-hovering deliberation.

And so, almost as soon as it appeared on my Facebook page, it disappeared because as far as I was concerned, my appearance in that photo was much too removed from those contained within my carefully curated collection.

We all know that the dialogue surrounding authenticity and transparency in the world of social media has been rife over the course of the last year. 

shutterstock_248678293 Source: Shutterstock/Kseniia Perminova

Much of it, however, has been directed at so-called influencers, who are regularly urged to ditch the editing tools and share more realistic versions of themselves, but it hasn’t stopped there.

The message has been filtering through every tier of the social media sphere, with more and more of your standard users allowing themselves to challenge a message many of us grew up with.

But why the need?

Unlike those with larger followings, it’s very unlikely your standard social media user will be shamed for uploading nothing but photo-tuned and filtered selfies, and yet many of us have made a conscious decision to share a less filtered version of our lives, and instead present ourselves as is.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I suddenly decided to do so, but it may have had something to do with realising that I was – in my own minuscule way – contributing to a problematic narrative, which seeks to conceal the reality and promote a falsehood.

And perhaps this is the case for anyone who chooses to present a more authentic version, whether A-lister, influencer or standard social media user, like myself.

Interestingly, however this isn’t an approach that sits well with everyone.

Earlier this week, Game of Thrones actress Lena Heady uploaded a video to Instagram, which was subject to criticism because she wasn’t wearing a full face of make up.

Lena then chose to share some of the derogatory comments she received in the wake of the upload.

In a post where she reminded her audience that she will continue ‘not to wear make up’, she then encouraged her critics to ‘go f*ck themselves’.

View this post on Instagram

I shall continue to not wear make up. Go fuck your self

A post shared by Lena Headey (@iamlenaheadey) on

Lena has been praised for highlighting her critics’ comments which remind us that for every strive towards authenticity, there exists an undercurrent which consistently seeks to belittle it.

But what about you? Have you been making an effort to share a more honest version of yourself online in recent years?

Poll Results:

Not that I really noticed, to be honest. (123)
Yes, I actually have! (88)
Absolutely not. Instagram is for my best self, not my real self. (42)

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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