facebook will kill us all

Monday, February 4, 2013

I always feel really uncomfortable changing my Facebook profile picture, especially to one that clearly shows my face. I have tried my hardest to find settings where changing my profile picture will not show up in my friends' Newsfeeds, in an effort to silently switch things up. The issue is, inevitably, somebody will see that it has changed, "like" it, which then catapults it into the Newsfeed. I hide it from my Timeline, I delete the automatic Newsfeed post right away... but within 10 minutes, no matter what time of day or night, somebody finds it, likes it, and then the comments start flooding in.

I hate, hate, hate receiving comments on my looks. I find them unnecessary and pointless. Sure, people have nice things to say, and it's great that they take time out of their days to tell me I look nice... but please. Please. I don't want to know. I don't want to open up a public conversation about my appearance on Facebook. Hell, I don't particularly want to open up a public conversation about anything, really. But definitely not my looks.

"Then why post a picture to begin with, Karin?" Because I want to. Because I want a photo of myself on my Facebook. That is my Mark Zuckerberg-given right.

And I know that everybody is, essentially, coming from a good place. Aside from my very close friends, who will go out of their way to say something rude as a form of endearment (we are very dysfunctional and get off on making fun of each other as often as possible, it's how we roll and it's probably not the right way to talk to each other, I get it), people are kind and want to throw me a compliment.

I changed my photo last night, and the barrage of comments became overwhelming and embarrassing for me. Thanks to a few select girls here in Nashville who feed off of making fun of my blog / Instagram / etc., I typically assume that everyone is rolling their eyes at me, thinking I am dumb for assuming that's how I actually look, and thinking I am even dumber for posting it on the Internet. Within an hour, I had to change the photo to "private" and switch over to a picture of Kristen Wiig as Dooneese from SNL that I had in November, just to relieve some of the tension I was experiencing over the attention. ...But then that picture accumulated about 10 more likes and comments, and the cycle started over again.

I talked to Christina this morning about how and why I feel weird about adding a photo of myself, and she empathized with how social media glorifies the wrong things. She pumped me back up into changing it back, and since it was 4:00 in the morning, I figured it would slip away into the great Internet Abyss and we could all pretend it never happened.

And then one of my "friends" (someone I sort-of-knew in college, who dated one of my sort-of-friends briefly, who I will most likely never see again, who I am somehow still Facebook friends with -- a rant for another time) commented, "omg eat something! you're too skinny!"

This was the most reinforcing comment I could have received, given my complex issue with profile photos. I'm not too skinny. I'm actually really pleased with my current weight, and don't think I need to lose OR gain anything. Have I lost weight in the past 3 years? Yes. Because I stopped eating junk and started exercising. But I am in no way "too skinny." And to suggest that I don't eat is even more offensive.

The worst part about that comment was I know she intended it as a compliment. Telling women they are "too thin" is considered one of the nicest things to mention. While I do understand our culture's fascination with weight loss, celebrities, and becoming as thin as possible, I don't really understand how it has become acceptable to tell another person that their body is too anything. What if I really was too skinny? What if I knew that? What if it's something I have been struggling with? What if I was anorexic and being told I am too skinny is what fed my dysfunctional neuroses? Now I'm sitting over here wondering if she's right. Should I start eating a lot more? Should I work out less? Do I need to gain some of that weight back? Obviously if I look too thin, I don't look good.

Suddenly, because someone decided to make a marginalized comment about my weight, I don't look right.

I know I'm digging way too far into this, especially over a fleeting comment that she, most likely, put almost no thought into, and over something as insignificant as a Facebook profile photo. And even still, as I have been writing this, I have received 4 more notifications about this very picture.

There's no real point to any of this ranting other than I am an incredibly uncomfortable person 99% of the time, and even more so when I am on my period... a time when I especially don't want to know  your opinion of my body.