ASHRAY JANI, FRANCES TACARDON

 November 15, 2015

The Editorial section of the Panther Press will reflect the intended nature of the editorial, which is an opinion piece that takes a position on certain topics. As always we are open to feedback and suggestions. If you would like to contact us, please email executiveeditor@pantherpress.ca or submit a comment at http://pantherpress.ca.

19 year old Essena O’Neill from Queensland, Australia officially decided to give up her online fame after deleting her accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Youtube in early November. Despite her wide base of followers – more than half a million from around the world – the social media sensation justifies her choice by revealing the superficiality behind the nature of her posts. O’Neill stated: “Everything I was doing was edited and contrived to get more views, likes, and followers.” As a result, this gained the attention of many people online, most of whom seemed to show their support and praise for Essena’s groundbreaking move.

How groundbreaking, however, is O’Neill’s act of calling it quits on these major social media platforms? Your editorial team at Victoria Park CI believes that the praise O’Neill is receiving is highly unnecessary considering the forms of greatness social media platforms bring to the table. Is it not that O’Neill could have simply quit Instagram and other platforms without gathering so much attention towards doing so? It’s quite contradictory that she chose to make a spectacle on social media about quitting social media.

To commend O’Neill for spreading awareness about the issues associated with social media is to assume that every other platform user abuses such platforms as she did. It’s important to remember that O’Neill, unlike the majority, was using Instagram to sell and promote commercial products. We all know that the world of advertising is utterly comfortable with  making alterations to physical appearances, lying about quality, and playing with our emotions, and O’Neill essentially chose to live in this world.

Also, all of those aboard the “social media is ruining our lives” train as a result of all this should really consider how society can benefit from social media. O’Neill stated that social media has created a “brainwashed generation.” Yet this broad statement totally disregards how social media platforms like Instagram expands conventional beauty norms and celebrates healthy self-love. Women in particular are affected by the Western standards of beauty, which is basically a thin, tall, white woman. How does social media aid this issue that affects our self-esteem? Posting selfies, for example, is sometimes frowned upon. This act is usually criticized by means of immediately assuming that selfies are a symbol of egotism. This viewpoint is built upon the belief that it’s not okay to love ourselves. A selfie doesn’t mean one is self-absorbed or vain, it’s simply a modern way of expressing our self-confidence. When has it ever been wrong to love ourselves?

Our intention is not to invalidate O’Neill’s choice to give up social media, but rather to shed light on why it is problematic to label her as an idol. When used in moderation, social media is our friend!

 

Works Cited

Connor, Liz. “Instagram Star Quits Social Media Claiming It Has ‘brainwashed a Generation'” Evening Standard. 3 Nov. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.