Body Image on Travel Accounts on Instagram - Setting Myself Free

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Body Image on Travel Accounts on Instagram 

An Attempt to Set Myself Free

Opening Up About Body Insecurities and Instagram - Setting Myself Free

Your body is something wonderful. It enables you to do so many things and it gives you that unique appearance that you do not share with anybody else. Your body is home to your soul that manages everything it does. But what if you don’t like that body?

To me, bodies, our physical appearances, our outer shell carries too much importance in society, our lives and my life, as well. While people started commenting on my body type from a very young age, I continuously became more ashamed of that body.

I was conditioned to put immense significance on my shape

When I was very young I did not seem to have a single cell of fat on me. With a rather boyish figure, I did not get any womanly features until around the time I turned 14. As I started developing some form of individual relationship with my body, as I started to feel like more than a child, my body did not keep up. Boys in school bullied me for not having breasts and looking too childish. Consequently, I was never one of the girls that took makeup bags on school trips when they were 12. However, until the bullying started, I did not really care…

On the other hand, my grandma always praised me for my slender appeal, knowing that I would probably never become chubby - as if that meant life success. As a girl, I was conditioned to put immense importance on my shape and my looks.

And I am not the only one!

I was horribly scared of getting chubby at 15 years old

All this shifted when I hit puberty around 14 or 15. My breasts got bigger, my hips a little wider, my legs a little thicker and my relationship with my body changed. I was not used to the body that I had now and started running, exercised like crazy in ever returning intervals of body insecurity. Had I been sad about not having breasts when I was younger, now I was horribly scared of becoming chubby, having cellulitis, not being fit - at only 15 years old. This fear has to this day never really let go of me, even though I know how stupid it is! 

Later men objectified me

The weird thing is, I have never been even on the verge of getting too chubby. Rather the praise of my outer shell, (others envying me for what I could eat without gaining any weight) started to creep in. Slowly but steadily I started to believe that my shape was directly connected to my self-worth. This feeling was only confirmed by my first sexual experiences that put a lot of importance on „how hot I was“ or how „great my ass looked“. When you are 17 and were never really popular, you LOVE the attention without realizing what it does to you. I did not even notice how men objectified me to the worst extent. I thought this was what I had to offer. A nice ass. There you go.

Nowadays I am certain that these insecurities come in part from my surroundings but are also from what we learn on TV, in magazines and now on Instagram and other social media. Every. Single. Day. Especially on Instagram, we internalize that a perfect body shape, face, and life determine how much you are worth in society. 

The Impact of Instagram on Body Image

The pictures below are all staged, all in a good position. Do I always look like that? Haha. Nope. Even though I edited these pictures, I am still not content. 

As soon as I pull out a camera and see that 90% of the pictures that someone took of me are not perfect, I get into a bad mood, hating on my eating habits, my work out routines or my general shape. These things used to ruin a whole day of vacation for me! In addition, we continue to take pictures of ourselves, analyzing what is not perfect. This did not help me, and it certainly will not help you. The number of likes you receive does not define who you are! 

Instagram is problematic in the sense that it highly focuses on visuality. You like the picture, not so much the message, don’t you? You may read the message but the picture is what gains your attention. I will go as far as that not one female Instagram user can completely separate herself from the ideals that are displayed by bloggers, models, and stars on it every day. And you know what makes it worse? Due to the interconnectivity of the platform, we believe that this is how the world out there looks like, and at least on a subconscious level we start to adapt. We start to edit our pictures and only use our best selfies. 

Travel Bloggers are not excluded from it

Especially travel/lifestyle bloggers have altered the focus on a bikini image from the body to the landscape. They put themselves in a beautiful setting and claim it is all about the landscape, when in reality they just made themselves an object, an accessory for the picture. And it's hard to not find beautiful pictures of beautiful people appealing! The entire advertising industry is built on it! I, too used to only display myself from my best side, which is why I am actually writing this today. 

A picture of a body is a fracture of reality

 
 Good posture, Edited

Good posture, Edited

 Bad Posture, Unedited

Bad Posture, Unedited

 

Today I decided to get over my insecurities and show you how different bodies can look at different angles, in different lights and situations. Specifically how different MY body looks. And how I want to learn to accept the reality, instead of fooling myself and other girls.

On my Instagram Account HerTravelSpirit you can definitely see that I tried to only display the best side of myself or to not display myself at all. I tried to talk about it in the captions. But as I said earlier, do they really matter in the end? It is sad to know that in the struggle and fight for the resource of attention, visuality will remain a leading factor. The only thing we can do about it is being honest! How do you feel about it? What are your experiences? Let us know in the comments!

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