Style Hero vs. Anti-hero

There are now so many acknowledged and mainstream style influencers thanks to the rise of social media. Each year someone new is regarded as having the ‘style to die for’. I believe that everyone has their own preferences with regards to who they aspire to on social platforms, however I feel that some heroes for some could also be quite damaging for others.

Kim Kardashian is someone who clearly loves her body and she seems to spend her days posting selfies incessantly to social media. Her latest bikini Instagram photo got over 2.2 million likes and above 11,000 comments. The caption was, ‘OK OK I’m almost done posting vacay pics…’

In some ways, I respect Kim in the way she flaunts her curves and doesn’t care what the haters have to say. This in turn shows her body positivity. She is a mum which I admire, and a lot of mums don’t love their bodies.

I personally wonder if style is really good for girls. Girls should be proud of their bodies for their strength, abilities and what they allow us to achieve; being grateful is key for me. However, not as a means for taking endless selfies, showing off their boobs and butt for others to admire.

I’d rather their confidence in their bodies be expressed in privacy or internally. When I look at images of Kim posing on a beach, I just worry that young girls will lose self-esteem instead of feeling boosted. They more than likely will think that they do not measure up because they aren’t wearing glamourous clothes, or sporting that sleek ponytail or have the same toned body, all while on vacation on some super exclusive island and while making money, for what essentially appears to be doing nothing.

I personally don’t follow any of the Kardashians or the Jenners on social channels because it is almost impossible to not compare your life to theirs. I really don’t feel that being bombarded with images of people purely showing off their bodies and beautiful lives is beneficial to anyone’s mental clarity. What they capture and post is just unachievable for the large majority of people and may even provide false hope of what young people could achieve in the future, both looks wise, wealth and generally as a lifestyle goal.

Contrasting this, Philly native Gabrielle Richardson who models for Pat McGrath and Urban Outfitters is someone that I do admire. Yes she posts selfies, but there is so much more to her than this surface level appearance. Her main role is founder of the Art Hoe Collective, a movement dedicated to providing a platform for all members of underrepresented communities to showcase their art. I love how her Instagram is filled with paintings and the occasional image of herself, but there are also some glimpses of her modelling work. This provides followers with a range of content that is both aesthetically pleasing, as well as educational.

It is through this shared artwork that Gabrielle can help people connect to their cultural roots. She shows that art is a possibility for everyone and demonstrates her cultural appropriation through her feed. She strives for greater visibility for those who need it; empowering others is something I truly admire. Giving artists a voice shows young people especially that it is okay to be different and anyone can be successful if they are motivated to work hard. Her posts also allow a wide range of people to explore a wide range of artistic expressions.

I think her positivity is in inspiration; she constantly reminds people to never forget where they came from. Gabrielle stresses that no one should be in the minority and expresses her view on why black lives matter. She is an amazing role model for other black women who feel constricted by their origins and want to break free from social stereotypes.

I feel that all women need to band together and show each other that they are enough; there is no need do more, try harder, or amp it up. Women, in my opinion, should get self-esteem not from selfies, but from helping make their communities better, joining a cause that speaks to them, to help someone, etc. I feel that we all, including myself, need reminding every now and then that our opinion of ourselves is the only one that matters. We don’t need to be checking Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook posts to see how many views or like or followers we have gained. In some point in the future, none of this will be of value!

Rachel

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