A Question of Perfection
By Peta Brady, August 20, 2018
Why do you like the internet?
I like the internet because it’s wonderful and funny and clever and all sorts of good things. I like silly cat videos and memes and makeup tutorials and online shopping.
I like that there’s a place for each little part of me to exist without the pressure of being whole. A place where I can be honest without really telling the truth. I like that I can write words and put them out in the world and that maybe someone will read them.
But sometimes I hate the internet because it’s fake and mean and hurts a lot of people’s brains. I hate that we’re all out here trying to be different, but somehow we’ve all ended up the same. I hate how we have to be happy all the time, or at least give the impression that we are. I hate the internet because when there are pieces of you all over the place it’s easy to get lost and forget how to put yourself back together and if you want to disappear you can’t because you’re everywhere.
I remember when we used to take photos just for us, not because we needed validation from strangers. I remember when it was ok to have flaws without having to embrace them publicly – when in fact, they weren’t flaws at all because we weren’t shamed or bullied or made to feel small. I remember a time when I didn’t have to think about loving myself, because I just did.
Did the internet turn against us, or us against each other? Why do our lips have to be extra plump and perfectly heart-shaped to be photogenic? Why do we have to pose and filter and be witty and cute ALL the time? Why do we need #bootygoals and feathered eyebrows and collagen facials just to be liked? It’s expensive and exhausting and I don’t want to be a part of it. You know why? Because the next thing you know you’re old and your knees hurt and you’re still caring too much about what other people think and how you look and whether your life has meaning and wondering why you’re wondering these things and thinking, fuck I’m too old for this shit but carrying on thinking these things just the same.
They give you pills for that now, to stop you thinking those thoughts. They give you pills and positive affirmations and expect you to fill in the gaps. They’ve turned stigma into commodity and hiked up the price.
I think maybe we should spend more time remembering, and less time comparing. I think we should be aware of what’s happening and talk about it more. I think we should talk intelligently without worrying about likes and followers and who looks best in the designer high-cut swimwear that we can’t even afford, because by tomorrow everything what ‘matters’ on the internet will have changed anyway. I think you should just do you.
Because perceived perfection is boring, and fitting in is just a trap.