Reminder to All Women: Be Kind to Yourself

by Lea M. Wong

With the rise of social media comes new technological feats that we never thought possible; instant messages and calls, breaking news at our fingertips, and the ability to connect with millions across the world.  Modern-day women, especially, are given much more opportunities online as well, from job opportunities to avenues of self-expression.

Great progress, however, comes at a price. With the popularity of apps like Instagram and TikTok, comes the dark side of the Internet.

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According to the National Report on Self Esteem, 98% of women and girls feel pressure to look a certain way. In a study conducted by the University of South Australia, a link was found between social media site use and women adopting ideals that favor a slim body. The study ultimately found that those who used social networking sites mainly for posting or viewing pictures were at a higher risk of becoming dissatisfied with their bodies.

During a pandemic, social media seems to be the primary source of interaction for most of us. We may find ourselves busy on Facebook, Instagram, and many other online platforms that bombard us with unrealistic life, beauty, and body standards. The need to be whiter, slimmer, and wealthier hounds us and makes us feel smaller than others.

Researchers at Stanford University coined the phrase “duck syndrome.” The term refers to how a duck appears to glide effortlessly across a pond while below the surface its feet work frantically, invisibly struggling to stay afloat. Indeed, this is a reflection of the current state of social media and our relationship with it. This is a wake up call for us to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else and to reevaluate the way we see ourselves.

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As we mark Women’s Month this year, we as women, must remind ourselves to practice self-compassion and kindness towards ourselves constantly. After all, we live amidst a global pandemic that the psychological community considers to be a worldwide traumatic event. The fact that we are here, fighting to stay afloat, is a testament to our strength, beauty, and character. It is something no amount of likes or curated social media feeds could ever compare to. So put down your phone once in a while and pat yourself on the back because the fact that you are alive through this major historical event is no easy feat.

We are women, and we are not just survivors but thrivers in this new and challenging world we are navigating today.

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