One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @socalitybarbie. This artist in Portland, Oregon sets up Barbie dolls in hipster poses (big sunglasses, hiking, hanging out in coffee shops, all fashionable without even trying), and creates commentary that suggests that this Barbie has vowed to “live authentic.”
What a perfect use for Barbie dolls. There’s always been this group of people who have claimed that young girls shouldn’t play with Barbies because they create an unrealistic expectation of what the girls’ bodies are supposed to look like. Of course, we all know that Barbies’ figures are not real, but to take it a step further and create an unreal world around the unreal person called Barbie is brilliant.
The artist says that she created the account to make fun of people who were using the #liveauthentic hashtag on Instagram with photographs of themselves that were staged to look casual. Anybody who takes a minute to examine these photographs realizes how inauthentic they are.
If there is one thing that bothers me more than just about anything in this world it is pretense. It bothers me on social media and it bothers me in real life. I’d take it even further and say that it causes all sorts of problems.
When people pretend that their lives are perfect, I can’t help but lose a little bit of respect for them. And if it is clear that they aren’t just pretending for others but have convinced themselves that all IS perfect, I feel sad for them.
Our imperfect lives frighten us at times. This is what drives us to present ourselves to the world as something other than what we are. We all do it in some form. Those hipster Instagram accounts take that pretense to a new level.
I don’t believe our lives are better just because we say it is. I believe our situations can improve when we acknowledge life’s imperfections and manage to be who we are in spite of them.
Writing publicly every day about my life has made it difficult for me to pretend I am anything but imperfect. I’ve learned that some people I know are not comfortable with my admissions of depression or anger or disappointment with people or things in my life. We are all so used to the polish that is usually presented to the world that we feel awkward when we hear about another person’s struggle.
I’m done pretending that everything is honky-dory. Life is hard. Sometimes I’m joyful, but sometimes I’m bitter or deeply sad.
Just like everybody else. If we’re being honest with ourselves.
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