GROWING UP ON THE INTERNET (Part 1 of 3): The Evolution of Online Validation

From the mere young age of perhaps seven, I have been a regular user of the world wide web. Like most other late Gen Y’s, the internet has not only shaped our lives, but changed who we are as consumers, and as people. Initially for me, going on the internet meant playing Club Penguin, Runescape and adventuring on Endless Online until someone found out my real name and tried to sell me drugs. 
MSN was the first real “social media” I had experienced. It was really just a chat room with people who you shared your email with. I mean, it was actually kind of the greatest thing ever to happen to a bunch of 11 year old kids who enjoyed cool fonts and online 3 day relationships. At this point, your face didn’t really matter, it was all about your display status and how good you were at tuning 12 year olds.
I believe I made a Facebook account in 2009. 2009 Facebook was the best, because everyones profile pictures involved emo side fringes or overly textual edits created on picnik with the caption “I love Greenday.”

..But then came Tumblr – which completely changed the mindset of the way girls dress and take pictures of themselves. Tumblr was where girls would upload pictures of themselves in high waisted shorts and crop tops for validation through the number of reblogs. I suppose this is where selfies went mainstream. If you had a pretty face and cool clothes and tan skin, than yeah, you were cool and kids on the internet loved you. You were a tumblr girl – Which as defined by Urban Dictionary , “is a person who wants to build their ego by taking pictures of themselves.” Tumblr was where the thigh gap began, which let me tell you, is probably one of the most harmful trends of this decade. Apparently everyone was unaware that a thigh gap was not a fitness achievement but actually a result of how your hips and legs are proportioned to one another. Every fucking girl wanted a thigh gap. 
As much as I love tumblr, when it first became popular, it was a toxic environment for body image, self love and self acceptance. 2013. What do you know, self esteem is at an all time low. Everyone online is skinny and pretty and tan and who am I? a nobody. As a culture, we moved all our time into searching for validation through our appearance rather than working on who we were as people.  You know, I’m not suprised at all that 91% of women are unhappy with their body. 

Whose to blame? Well, all of us. We created the culture we now live in. The culture obsessed with appearance. Instagram is just as bad; guilty of creating unhealthy thinspo images that made 16 year olds who were still growing into their bodies spend hours on the treadmill refraining from eating food that wasn’t a kale salad or a coffee. All you need to do is take a look at Kylie Jenner’s instagram comments which have the phrase LB instant shared every 0.1 of a second. Everyone bases their worth of their likes and comments because they are too afraid to truly admit to themselves how insanely insecure they are. Everything is beautiful on the outside but everything is broken on the inside. Which is the absolute worst kind of sadness.


Part 2: hyper sexualisation online and it’s impacted me

 

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