Culture Critique: All About Image

Superficial: external or outward; shallow, not profound or thorough; apparent rather than real.

*In the spirit of this post, please enjoy accompanying images I’ve taken that were never meant to end up on the Internet*

I’m guilty of it on my own Instagram: I love creating an aesthetic in how my feed looks. This goes for my personal page and the one for Word Oasis, along with the rest of my social media. We all want to create a certain image of us and our lives. This is a problematic tendency that we have, and it’s not out of the ordinary nowadays. But thinking back, I’ve always been quite concerned with what people thought of me. I was so competitive, always wanting to be superior to those around me. Even if I was going through something hard, I never wanted to show that on that outside. I felt the need to appear as though everything was under control all the time, and honestly, I did a pretty good job of that. This was such a habit for me, that when I started to become more vulnerable on this blog about tough seasons, it incited a lot of anxiety in me. It was so outside of my comfort zone at that point that being honest almost felt like a painful thing. I’d somehow managed to corner myself into always appearing put together both online and in my day-to-day life.

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Social media throws this tendency in our faces. We see the best of everyone online, and very quickly the reality becomes: our entirety < their best. And of course that’s the case! It’s difficult to understand that the people we see exclusively on social media are just as up-and-down as we are because social media appears to provide a complete (yet superficial) picture. This begs the question: does our culture/society try to translate that into real life? I’d argue the answer to that is yes, especially in my case.

Social media consumes a lot more of our time these days than many of us would like to admit. Question: how many times do you have a list of to-do’s in front of you and instead you’re aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook? It leaves its daily imprint on our lives to the point that we start to mimic social media behavior in our in-person lives. That need to seem on top of everything, to layer a bit of editing on our lives in how they translate to others becomes a lot more prevalent. There’s home, jobs, relationships, hobbies, travel, self-care, and just being well-rounded people. We need to do it all and do it well, no questions asked because superficially it’s all there. Maybe we should ask questions. Question: Is it all just assumptions?

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Moving right along, there’s also the concept of social media influencing life instead of the other way around. Question: how much of how we live our lives, the choices we make, and goals we have relate to how we can appear on social media and feel superior, and less about what they actually are? Being so image-driven has lead us to creating lives around the apps on our screen instead of living out our moments fully.

When how it looks > how it is, that’s when we have an issue. 


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Being all about the image inevitably results in us living for others, and more specifically, their opinions. It’s time to ask the questions, and ask them to ourselves. Question: on and offline, how much are we doing so we can look a certain way, even past our physical appearance? In regard to social media, let it be the result of what you do for the right reasons, not choosing what you do for a picture to post online. Part of this blog has been about dropping the façade and perpetuating honestly (while keeping privacy sacred) as a trend, if only for myself. Let’s live life without embellishment.

Much Love, Quinn

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