Ah, Instagram: if you believe everything you see, everyone is living their best (and most filtered) life on the social media site – and it can leave us feeling… well, a little insecure about our own ‘imperfect’ existence (both on and offline).
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Instagram feed is, of course, every bit as glossy and envy-inducing as you might expect. But, asked how to snap the ‘perfect’ selfie or photo in a new interview, the model’s answer is refreshingly honest.
“Well, you need half an hour, you need great lighting, and you need to be prepared to take about 100 pictures of yourself, edit through 100 pictures of yourself and then filter them three times,” she tells Glamour.
“You know, come on! Be real! That’s the way it is. I try to be mindful of that when I’m posting pictures, but again, it’s part of what I do and I hope that people don’t feel…that my social media is too obnoxious.”
Huntington-Whiteley, who is pregnant with her first child, adds that she worries about the effect that social media is having on the younger generation – acknowledging her own part in the issue.
“[I worry about] young girls out there who are really feeling insecure about their image and they scroll through and see this image of a supermodel looking amazing, reclining on the beach in a completely unrealistic pose or environment,” the 30-year-old says.
“And I can see how that would make people not feel good about themselves. I mean, I can’t say that I’m immune to that. Sometimes I’m like, ‘F**k!’ You know? That doesn’t make me feel great.”
Huntington-Whiteley isn’t the only woman in the spotlight to address her concerns over social media: Fearne Cotton and Emma Watson have both addressed the damaging effect it can have on emotional wellbeing.
Cotton, 35, said: “Social media is a tricky one because I love it and I dislike a lot of it as well.
“I like the fact that it gives me a control as to what I would like people to see of me, it’s less hearsay, less second-hand news. But the bit that is dangerous, especially for younger women, is looking at other people’s lives and doing that awful ‘compare and despair’ sort of thing. You put your own life against others and [sometimes you start] believing in the fantasy that you see.”
The TV and radio host added: “I do try and show a fair reflection of what my days are like, but I don’t think I would have wanted to have put any of my episodes of depression on there, as it feels like the wrong platform.”
Watson, who is currently promoting her new movie The Circle, dealing with our fascination with the internet, recently said that the film’s plot made her “think a lot about what I would do if I had children.”
The 27-year-old continued: “A lot of children of this generation have their entire lives made public before they have a say about what they would want. I think it should always be a choice.”
Watson added: “I love social media, and I love what it can do and how it brings people together, but used in the wrong way, it's incredibly dangerous. And, increasingly, our attention is our most important resource.
“Before the press tour, I deleted my email app from my phone and really tried to create serious boundaries from it, because it is addictive. We need to make sure that we are using technology, and technology is not using us.”
Various studies have indicated that social media can have a negative impact on our sense of self. It’s thought that relentlessly scrolling through other people’s feeds – and spending too much time making “negative social comparisons” – can be linked with feelings of envy, dissatisfaction and even depression.
Experts told stylist.co.uk that the best way to combat this jealousy is to “look at your own social media feeds.”
They continued: “Chances are, what you see is a highly edited version of your real life: the highlights, rather than the sad/tedious/ugly bits. Next time you find yourself comparing yourself to others through the lens of social media, remind yourself that nobody’s life is perfect – even if it seems like it on Facebook.”
For information and support about mental health issues, visit mind.org.uk.
Images: Rex Features