Submitted Date 06/28/2019

You know the scene:

You're scrolling through Instagram and pause on the picture of the girl in a bikini sitting near a remote waterfall in a distant land, a fashionista laughing in a field of flowers, or a blissful couple sharing bright smoothie bowls filled with exotic fruit.

Wow. They have it all. And they're advertising a hip new product that, if you buy it, will likely bring you closer to living their life. You'll finally feel like you're not missing out, or maybe you'll look more like people who aren't.

IG users seem to have a love/hate, one-sided relationship with influencers. On one end they can't stop consuming their daily stories and posts to covet their perfect bodies, style, and lives. On the other hand, you feel depressed, anxious, and lacking after you experience the small constructed snippet of their lives.

Many of us have read about FOMO, or fear of missing out--but some people have turned to public shaming in an attempt to hold an influencer accountable for any actions they have done to harm the psyche of their followers. We're essentially turning our anger to influencers and have transformed them into our foes. Why not? Influencers are jobless trust fund babies, right? Maybe it's time we approach this from a different angle.

I'm not writing this to defend assholes who, whether out of ignorance, selfishness, or greed, tell you that you'll get their body by snorting their powdered celery juice five times a day just to sell you a product--I'm writing this to point out that influencers are representing a microcosm of systemic societal issues.

Instagram wasn't the birthplace of body image issues or disrespected lands. Influencers are simply a product of our society. They supply what we demand, and while that doesn't alleviate their responsibility, it sure as hell doesn't place them up there with oil lobbyists who rape the earth and encourage climate deniers, or elitist fashion magazine editors who began defining beauty as an unattainable phantom ideal.

I'm sorry to say that I'm not here with a solution. This is a complicated problem. Influencers aren't always innocent, but they're not the demons we'd like to make them out to be. They are also magnets to the equestrian addicts: those with a high horse syndrome. Influencers' "sins" to society are a distraction, and are ultimately used as a tool to further divide us using isolation and dehumanization. Our anger toward them takes us away from solving real issues together. Issues that can't be addressed if we allow ourselves to be divided and conquered.

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