By Georgia Hammerson

And you see, here we have it: Advertising. In all its glory, in all its pretty fonts and pretty pictures, in all its attention grabbing and gripping con artistry. Don’t get me wrong it’s an exceptional tool, but as with any great power there are downsides to it also. The downsides of advertising can lead to an idea being fabricated for appeal, leaving you and I with a warped message of what IS realistic.

Emotions can subconsciously stem from dazzling advertising – feelings of being less worthy, self-consciousness, just a general lack of happiness and less satisfaction as your standards are shot to an unrealistic level. Glossy magazines, flawless billboard images, dreamy fashion campaigns, the general media, television ads – advertising is ubiquitous.

This brings us a modern day twist on an age old entity, we live in a world today where even people are advertising themselves  – people can make money just by promoting a certain lifestyle! Or looking a certain way, upholding certain values, god for bid just SAYING certain things, promoting countless brands… you get the idea, the list is endless.

Social media plays an ever-growing part in life and our self-esteem, I don’t know about you but I have a love hate relationship with Instagram. It’s amazing, don’t get me wrong the world is a better place with that love heart feature (and I couldn’t be more obsessed with Snapchat) but these platforms do however, open our eyes to a world of filtered reality. Filters, angles, lighting and perfectly curated videos, the internet-sphere is rife with perfection, self-absorption and self-advertising. ‘Perfection’ that can make the average girl pretty well, self-conscious. Why can’t I be on a beach for ten months of the year I’ve caught myself daydreaming – and I’m definitely not as toned as that absolute babe I follow. Without catching myself out, I’ve been caught and sucked in before.

Then I remember the entire concept of advertising and that these snapshot images offer only a “snap shot glimpse” of a captured moment, and in no way a real life representation of the full life someone leads. This can lead to a warped perception of a “perfect day” and ultimately the ‘perfect’ life. Why can’t my hairdresser ever get my hair that shade of blonde? It’s called “Clarendon”, babe and a bit of exposure and cropping – her hair although already beautiful like yours, probably doesn’t look exactly like that either. I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen a post on someone’s IG dedicated to the pimple they brought along on that jet setting vay-cay to that to-die-for destination. (They did, however showcase their Louis Vuitton suitcase packed with a swimsuit collection you’d eat your heart out for on Snapchat).

After some much needed self-reflection I turn my attention to my own social media accounts and realise that I too am guilty of this ‘spotlight fabricating’ behaviour, and we all do it but, why? Because we want to exhibit the best side of OUR reality. We want to boast the best versions of our already awesome self; we want to show off our special. However, the one thing that all the FaceTune in the world, perfectly self-timed shots, and that pose that cinches in the waist just how you like it simply cannot give you is your real life moments and the appreciation for all the flawed, “badly lit”, charming (unfiltered) memories you make along the way. We might be advertising a picturesque life and all around us there may be illusions to this ideal, but when you’re next scrutinising yourself against that Queen online with thousands of followers remember: “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Life should be a popularity contest with yourself; you should be your most influential follower. This Queen is human too like you and I with off days and occasional breakouts. That is the ultimate aspect of the modern advertising game we must conquer: The awareness of illusion and the love of our three dimensional self.

While there is evidentially downsides to all this internet-aviour, there really is something quite positively beautiful in the coming of age way we all put ourselves on the line with the enchanting intention of showcasing our lives in the best (selfie) light possible. We are proud, we are fearless and we are the 21st century.