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uni brain

love letters

Presenting identity over the last century

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The human desire to present themselves has transformed to become a daily need over the last century. A comparison evident beginning in the 40’s, then into to the 90’s, with the last decade seeing a dramatic change. When individual’s wake up in the morning, what is on their minds? Last nights dream? Today’s stress? Tomorrow's journey? How were they feeling? Who did they want to share their story with? Was it their friends? Was it the world? Storytelling is the universal language we go through the world with. Right now there are 7.6 billion individual little stories walking around out there. Every day every single person is presenting their identity to the world. And although presentation can come in all shapes, sizes, colours and forms; no matter what, there are always two sides to a story. From makeup to make-ing it up, from drive-in cinema to Instagram, from socialising to socialites, and from entrepreneurs to interpreters. Here is a presentation of identity over the last century.

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From drive in cinema to Instagram

Let’s take it back to the 40’s. Imagine a world where you still knew where your friends were by the number of bikes outside of someone’s house? When you couldn’t change plans at the last minute! When drive-in cinemas was your night out, and what you saw was what you got. When magazines like “hot rod” gave you advice on the perfect pick up ride with a girl (Classroom, 2018). Why did the introduction of the internet change this? When did identity transfer to the online world? When did Instagram start misrepresenting our identity people may think?  

Approximately 8 years ago, Instagram was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (Time, 2016). Less than a year later it was made known that this photo-sharing platform would change the way individuals were presented, forever. Instagram is now a multi-billion dollar phenomenon, boasting over 300 million monthly users, with over 70 million images being shared daily. It is no denying the extent to which individuals are craving this fantasised world (BT, 2018).

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From make-up to mak-ing it up

Instagram was never a place for self-identity. It was a platform to share pictures; to share real stories. Instagram now has the power to separate our identity and fracture what is being presented.

From the 40’s, to now, makeup was only minimalistic, with good girls never being caught dead wearing it (or so their mother’s said) (Vintage Dancer, 2018). Clothing post-war, saw girls wearing poodle skirts, petticoats and blouses (Classroom, 2018). It saw people taking pride in their identity and fashioning themselves for the real world and people, not likes and comments on this faceless online world.

The 40s through to the 90’s, saw people living their true lives. Living for the moments and not capturing the desired identity you want the world to see and praise you for. This world, unfortunately, is destructive to onlookers, who are made to feel inferior to your falsely presented identity. Instagram vs. reality. There are two sides to the story (PetaPixel, 2017).

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From socialising to socialites  

When socialising gets out of control. When popularity shapes your identity. Socialities and influencers are the faces of Instagram identity nowadays. But when it becomes too much, too fake and lonely, what happens? A collapse and rebirth of the 40’s and 50’s.

A world free of social media. A world where you were carefree and at your own account, able to socialise at our equivalent; diners, drugstore counters, teen-canteens; to eat, enjoy music, perhaps dance and have a good time (Classroom, 2018). With the only people commenting on you,  or liking you were the cute boys, too awkward to make a move. This rebirth is evident by young socialite Essena Oneill whose false sense of identity in the online world found her lonely in the real world. In which she describes the platform to be “contrived perfection made to get attention” with over half a million followers giving her this reciprocated false praise and self-worth (The Guardian, 2015).

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From entrepreneurs to interpreters

Instagram is now deemed the worst social media platform, with increased depression, anxiety, negative impacts of sleep quality, bullying, body image and fear of missing out (FOMO) (Time, 2017). The saddest thing about it all is that there are so many the entrepreneurial opportunities coming from this. Mental health clinics, support seminars, increased Instagram following channels and sites to boost your self esteem supposedly because people like traumatised Michelle Linker have been brainwashed by the notion that “If i get two likes, I feel like, what’s wrong with me?” (Time, 2017). People are interpreting and reinventing history. Soon a day will come when the online portal of presentation is converted. Converted to a world where limited social media should apply and positive self-worth and presenting real identities should be encouraged.


With technology, comes consequences. With social media comes dangers. With the growing population comes a desire to follow these trends and refrain from social isolation and stigmas attached to lack of online interconnection. The real significance of social media, Instagram particularly is the damaging and detrimental effect this platform is having on the way we perceive ourselves, and the way we perceive our world. Now here’s not saying it is all bad. This is just showing you one side of the story. The real messed up side. Here's hoping you are representing your true positive identity.

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Reference list:

Rebecca Wilson