beauty

'The photo I deeply regretted uploading to Instagram.'

Ahh life. It’s confusing at times. The lines between what is “right” and what is “wrong” are becoming more and more blurred. What someone might see to be liberating another might see to be attention seeking. What someone sees as self-loving another will see as self-obsessed. What someone sees as being confident another will see as pathetically insecure.

It’s pretty much guaranteed that each time you pop on to social media, you will see a photo of a girl in a bikini. Whether it the latest brand of clothing you have followed or a friend of a friend’s cousin that for some reason you still have an interest in, there is mostly going to be some kind of representation of a semi-naked woman.

Last week I uploaded a photo of myself in a bikini to my Instagram story. This photo was up for a total of three hours before my brain completely over thought the choice I had made and I deleted it.

I was walking with a friend that afternoon and she asked me why I had chosen to delete it, after over 200 of my followers had already seen it.

We have some very simple instructions about how to get a beach body. Post continues…

“It’s just not me,” I said. “I am the awkward, snorts when she laughs girl. I don’t think I am the sexy bikini-photo-uploading girl.”

The more I thought about my comment the more I realised I had just lumped every woman into one of two baskets.

Basket One: The confident bikini photo uploading woman.

Basket Two: Everyone else.

This is NOT something I am proud of.

In the three hours the photo was visable to my Instagram followers many thoughts were running through my head.

Some of these thoughts were as followed….

Why would you even upload that? Your body is gross. Delete it.

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Is this really how you want people to perceive you?

You have a brain. Don’t be seen just for your body.

You are not a good example for young women if you keep that photo up.

You are completely sending the wrong message about yourself.

I would keep going, but I think you get the picture.

I realised by thinking these things, I was doing a complete disservice not only to myself but to women everywhere.

Instagram bikini photos and feminism
I realised by thinking these things, I was doing a complete disservice not only myself but to women everywhere. Image supplied.

The thing is, when I see a fellow female Instagrammer upload a bikini photo, I think none of these things about her. Thoughts like “damn she is looking good,” or “I wonder where those bikinis are from,” tend to be what runs through my messy head. Then I normally double tap and keep scrolling.

As women we can be are our own worst enemies. The voices in our heads tend to be far more destructive about ourselves then about someone else. It is important to remember when we have these negative self-hating thoughts, we aren’t just hurting ourselves, we are hurting women everywhere. We are hurting what we are working so hard to achieve: equality. But still knowing this, why is it I found the act of uploading a photo of myself in a bikini to be so confusing, confronting and in the end, shameful? Why is it I automatically started hating on myself so much that I felt sick?

The answer is, in a moment of confidence, I uploaded this thinking it was good photo of myself. But then negative-self-hating voices in my head took control and I erased what was to me, a feeling of liberation and self-love.

A simple photo of someone in a bikini might be considered vain to a few but to the person that uploaded the photo, it most likely means so much more. I don’t think it is fair to fellow females or myself to pass judgement on a single image. That would be judging yourself or someone else based solely on a profile photo, and let’s face it, we all know not to do that.

If we lack confidence perhaps an upload of a photo we know is destined to get more likes will give us just the boost we need. If we have worked hard to love ourselves and the way we look, I don’t think there is any reason to put another label on this kind of image. These images can simply be a representation of whatever you wish. Try and make the wish a positive one.

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