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The 'Finsta' Phenomenon

May 29, 2017

 

 Photo by Christian Gertenbach

 

How do you love yourself when the whole world is watching?

Does this change as the audience changes?

 

The term ‘finsta’ can be described as a fake Instagram account where teens, mostly female, post the various sides of themselves that aren’t always seen by the public eye.

 

It’s said that this trend began when parents began joining social media platforms, but since then it has taken off and become something of its own. These accounts may include anecdotes of embarrassing moments, scandalous self portraits, drunk faux-pas or anything one may feel inclined to share to a small, handpicked audience.

 

Finsta accounts are viewed as a form of unapologetic expression, albeit being private. But what does this mean for the whole ‘true colors’ revolution? Some argue this trend only further encourages the facade provided by social media, insinuating that who we may portray to the world (e.g. public account followers) may not be our true selves. It’s no secret that Instagram is one of the most popular platforms to satisfy one’s hunger for validation. It seems that users tend to post a photo, and gain a sense of confidence when they are validated through positive comments, typically about their outward appearance.

 

On the contrary, finsta accounts are commonly used to gain a different kind of validation, be it emotional or humorous. The question ultimately lies in whether or not the two can coexist; can you paint yourself one color for everyone to see, but something else entirely when it’s a selected audience?

 

Upon delving into the finsta world, I discovered anecdotes of rants, belligerency, etc. But more than anything, one particular trend crept under my skin over and over: extremely self-deprecating behavior. This was upsetting. I was shocked to find how much girls could put themselves down one day, only to tell others to appreciate themselves and preach body positive, self-love the next. It seems so contradictory. One may preach about self-adoration publicly, only to secretly shame themselves for their appearance or actions.

Fake instagrams are solely used for entertainment purposes, as far as I’ve seen. However, we tread muddy water when we depict ourselves as entirely different people between accounts. Where is the line drawn? Do the false accounts promote a new era of honesty, or is it diminished by the fact that users still hide behind its exclusivity?

 

My verdict is that like most ‘art forms,’ (if you will), these accounts are entirely subjective, and of course it is up to the user what they utilize them for. Be it general self-awareness or cultivating a sense of individuality, participants in the trend seem to enjoy the relaxed environment of these finstas. Perhaps they will spark a confidence revolution. Or, contrarily, perhaps they will taint the idea of self-appreciation. I suppose it depends on whomever chooses to take part in the finsta phenomenon.

 

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