I was chatting to one of my tutor-kiddos the other day because we are doing about Jekyll and Hyde. The session we had was about identity and profiles people have online. We got to talking about Instagram because of the way Jekyll and Hyde is, in its rawest form, about fakery and superficiality to cover the darknesses that lie-beneath!
Granted it’s bleak, and Instagram, or social media in general can be such a connecting, positive thing. The flipside is that it’s incredibly dark, and there are some strong, negative effects of social media. It is just not possible to trust it all and there is a huge amount of pressure put on people because of it.
So in talking about appearances with this unit on Jekyll and Hyde, I talked about my Instagram. Spoiler alert: I am really, really boring! I don’t do a lot of makeup because I’m too lazy and when I do, I usually forget to take pictures of it. Mine is full of my dogs, me and my wrinkles and just quite silly pictures of us all. We’re not particularly polished as folk and it makes my life easier that way. The kiddo is the same; they are really strong and seem to have an inner sense of confidence that I would have given my right arm for, when I was that age.
But there are students who don’t have that sense of confidence that this kiddo does. They said that some of their friends are desperate to get their lips done, have stuff put in their foreheads as soon as they can do- these kids are 15ish years old. And I honestly wonder, how on earth we got to that point? How did we get to the point where kids seek out putting stuff in their faces to make themselves different from what they are? How are kids so low in self-esteem that they don’t see it as just proper effed up for them to want to change their faces so fundamentally? It made me so sad that kids are in that position. It’s not going to be helped by organisations like Boohoo turning women in to ‘things’ and totally sexualising them; the ads get banned but kids still see them and seek it out.
I don’t know how to fix it, and it’s not a one-person problem; rather it’s a wholesale culture change we need to support our kids so that they feel ‘enough’. I will do what I can with it, but kids wanting to pump their faces full of stuff to somehow feel better about themselves surely cannot be the best way forwards!