Among the many other dictums involved in my upbringing, my parents were mightily keen on modesty. “Don’t show off” was one of my mum’s most oft-used phrases. Even though I wasn’t aware that I did. I daren’t.
It screwed me up a bit I reckon, never being able to fully occupy a space. As a consequence I often walk into a room like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, only not quite so upset. My husband sometimes taps me on the back and whispers “head up, shoulders back” as I prepare to slither into a room.
So, even if I was young enough to appear on the likes of Love Island , I wouldn’t. Because I would be showing off. Certainly NOT behaving like a Jane Austen heroine or the Virgin Mary, as my mum would have liked.
Little did I know then, as a child, that a few decades later showing off would become a thing. And the more you showed off – on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook et al – the more people liked you (even though they’d never met you).
And who’d have thought then that people would actually be needy enough to actually get off on the number of likes they gather from people they don’t know?
That’s how completely ridiculous and empty it all is.
This, by the way, is all because I’m agreeing with Russell Howard, who’s blasted shows such as Love Island and apps like Instagram, with its airbrushed pictures and impossible glamour, for ruining teenagers’ ideas of how they should look.
It’s no coincidence, he insinuates, that a quarter of the UK’s 14-year-old girls self-harm.
We can’t put the beast back in the box now. But we can ignore it. I do. I don’t do, nor ever have done Facebook, nor Instagram. I rarely use YouTube. I do Twitter, mainly for news. That’s the extent of it.
I love fashion, but I go to the high street or online stores for that. I couldn’t give a flying… about what Beyonce or anyone else is wearing on Instagram. Am I fully sane? Probably not. But I’m a little further away from madness than I would be if I cared about showing off on social media.
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