Instagram can be a scary place for teens - but with people like Roz Purcell lifting the veil on "perfect" posts, it gives us hope.
It's no secret - it's hard growing up. Being a teenager involves figuring yourself and the world out, and this can definitely lead to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
When these feelings are coupled with social media, things get a little more complicated. As a parent, the pretty pictures of perfect people we once saw on magazine covers and TV now follow our teens home, available at the click of a button on Instagram.
It is heartbreaking to think of our teens scrolling through social media, seeing perfect images of perfect lives and comparing themselves to them. Plus, no matter how many times you may try to explain the realities of Photoshop with the usual "don't worry, nobody really looks like that!" conversations, your teen can easily just open their phone and see people who do look like that on their screen, people who upload Photoshopped and filtered photos that no young person can replicate in their everyday life.
However, amongst the picture-perfect lives that we see on our screens, one Instagrammer has decided that she doesn't want to upload content that makes people unhappy or self-conscious.
Recipe creator and influencer Roz Purcell has struggled with body image and self-esteem issues in her own life. Opening up in a social media post last year, she said:
"It’s coming to an end of ED ( eating disorder) awareness week. I hadn’t really planned on putting anything up, it feels like another lifetime & even though I’ve spoken about my food and body struggles on here in the past it never gets any easier.
I feel sad looking back, I wasted so many years putting myself down, missing opportunities and worst of all not being me around my friends and family (sorry ❤️). I know I was miserable."
Now, Roz has committed to taking herself less seriously on social media, to remind everyone that what you see on Instagram is not "real". She calls this concept #ContentContent - online content that makes people happy instead of feeling discontented with themselves and their lives.
With each post, Roz explores an aspect of blogger world and the perfect images we see online. At times, the posts include funny and laid back "behind the scenes" photos alongside the filtered picture-perfect posts that we see on Instagram.
In one post, she writes,
"I do these side by sides every so often as a reminder not to take this place as real life I guess.
This is the highlight reel, no one here is posting their worst pictures or tough times. If you’re following people like me it’s a reminder we take sh*t loads of photos and pick 1 to share, usually the one we think is the best & the rest never see the light of day."
Other times, the posts are a little more technical - revealing how things like camera angles and camera lens distortion can dramatically affect how we appear in a photograph.
With posts like these, I would argue that Roz is doing incredibly important work in breaking down the fourth wall of Instagram, showing all of us (adults and teens!) that what we see online is not real. That what is real, are stretch marks, pores, belly folds, frizzy hair, pimples, cellulite - and the smile of a person who is truly, unapologetically #content with themselves.