independent

Sunday 17 February 2019

Vain 'challenge' an exercise in self-criticism

It’s sad that a frivolous thing such as the 10 Year Challenge initiated on Facebook became a mechanism to self-criticise and compare themselves to others
It’s sad that a frivolous thing such as the 10 Year Challenge initiated on Facebook became a mechanism to self-criticise and compare themselves to others

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

I'm getting a bit fed up of these silly online 'challenges', the latest of which was the 10 Year Challenge initiated on Facebook.

As expected social media fans didn't need much persuasion to take it up and soon, feeds were awash with the '10yearchallenge' hashtag. At first, the idea of it seemed like a bit of fun - post two photos of yourself, a decade apart and show the world how you have changed.

The problem is that, as time went on, it started to become a negative thing, with people comparing their present day selves to the younger version and picking apart what they saw. It was as if youth (for some, not all) was all that mattered, not achievements or personal happiness or contentment.

Growing older, started to be viewed as a negative and unappealing thing and the challenge turned towards comparing how well people have or have not aged.

This is the very essence of toxic social media, where aesthetics and image are valued above all else.

It doesn't matter what a person has achieved, or how they feel, once they look like they have it all together from the outside.

It's sad that a frivolous challenge such as this, for those who allowed it to, became a mechanism to self-criticise and compare themselves to others.

The ridiculous thing is that like it or not, everyone is ageing and while social media shenanigans are for the most part a bit of fun, this sort of culture can be damaging. Growing older is a privilege that not everyone is afforded and so lamenting your wrinkle-free appearance of 10 years ago is pointless.

Of course nobody can look the same after a decade of life, but it's what happens in the intervening years is what's really important, not how well you have aged.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the 'best' version of yourself, to feel happy and healthy in your own skin, but if you post a photo and then criticise what you see, then how is that positive?

It's not surprising that the vast majority of people who took up said challenge were women and while some celebrated achievements, most just remarked about how they looked now and then, as if that is all that matters. Perhaps it is all that matters on social media, but nonetheless it's disappointing.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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