Recent social media hashtag reaffirms what we truly love
By Naomi Ambrose, Staff Writer
Social media hashtag enthusiasts, I request your attention. For those of you who enjoy participating in social media challenges, you must have felt like you were living in hashtag heaven if you participated in last week’s #10YearChallenge.
If you missed out on this experience, don’t despair—I will take you back to the #10YearChallenge photo fair.
When I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I noticed that a lot of my friends were posting side-by-side photos of themselves showing how they looked 10 years ago and how they look today, with “#10YearChallenge” written in the caption. The hashtag piqued my interest. Deciding to find out the magnitude of this challenge, I entered it into the search bar. What I discovered made me ponder our never-ending obsession with flawless, spotless physical beauty.
When I did the search, there were 1.3 million posts with the #10YearChallenge hashtag. Of the dozens of photos I scrolled through, a lot of them consisted of people who posed provocatively, while emphasizing the stunning changes in their face, chest, stomach, and the popular gluteus maximus.
Yes, it’s true that some of the photos could have been viewed as opportunities for people to show their incredible body transformations during their 10-year weight loss journey. I’m all for celebrating achievements and goals. However, if the celebration is just done in a boastful, narcissistic way, then I think it’s worthwhile to re-examine the purpose of posting these photos.
On the other hand, perhaps the #10YearChallenge is a unique way for people to inspire others to overcome obstacles, like one of the photos I saw of a challenge participant. She posted a photo of herself as a child who appeared to have suffered some physical abuse or trauma—as illustrated with the image of a large burn-like wound across her chest and a bandage on her right shoulder. It seems this child grew up to be a tall, confident woman, based on the other photo she posted.
I wish there were more heartfelt photos like hers. If only there were more photos posted that illustrated the social, emotional, and mental hardships that people might have overcome during their younger years and show them presently as people who overcame these adversities—instead of how attractive they’ve become.
I await the next hashtag challenge. I hope that when the next social media fad of this sort does emerge, we’ll be inspired to post meaningful photos that show more than just physical beauty.