By: Anna Merezhko
March 17, 2017
What amazes me the most about social media is how it can isolate and bind you to a community at the same time. I have been, like many of Yoga_girl’s followers, patiently waiting to hear news of the birth of Yoga_girl’s daughter and last week, it finally happened.
I have never felt so happy for a person I’ve never talked to. I squealed when I found out. I called my husband over and squealed that Yoga_girl gave birth. I’m pretty sure there were tears because I shared in the anticipation of that baby. All of a sudden, that baby was a person. She was here. She was on this Earth and her parents waited so long for her. It was a beautiful moment.
Yoga_girl is the Instagram account of the beautiful Rachel Brathen, a Swedish yoga teacher that has 2 million followers on Instagram and has taken the yoga world by storm with her openness, honesty, and love. I originally started following her because of the heartbreaking story she shared about losing her best friend in a car accident. Throughout the time I followed her, she never failed to be real and talk about her struggles and encourage people in the process. She is the kind of person that radiates light and happiness and she took a simple platform and turned it into a vessel of bringing hope to people.
Unfortunately, this media platform could be just as toxic as it is healthy. I’ve read numerous posts, not only from her, about how harsh and mean the internet could be. There are people that sit behind their phones and pour their hatred and bitterness onto others for no reason. Most of them are other women. They criticize and judge you. They feel they have some kind of right to do so.
It breaks my heart that oftens times, in her posts, Rachel has to explain herself. The latest incident happened just today. She posted a video of her and her newborn baby basking in the sun and she felt she had to explain that they were only out in the sun for 15 minutes a day during the sunset because it’s doctor-recommended. I am guessing that had she not said that, she’d receive numerous “advice” she didn’t ask for. For every person who genuinely wanted to let her know to not keep her baby in the sun too long, there would definitely be a person that would start calling her names and saying she’s a bad mother because she took her baby outside.
This is just the reality we live in now. Many moms, especially, feel that it is necessary to explain themselves on social media. “Don’t worry, I put her seatbelt on” or “Oh, those drawers are childproof” keep on popping up on my feed and it’s driving me nuts. Do strangers think they could take better care of your child? Do they think you don’t love your kid and want them to be safe?
This doesn’t only concern moms either. Even before Rachel was pregnant, she was under social media scrutiny 24/7. Rarely, she would post a rant and give an insight to her followers of what she has to deal with. If she posted a picture with a glass of wine, the yoga community would go nuts and say she wasn’t a real yoga teacher because they abstain from alcohol. If she posted a picture of herself in a bikini, people would criticize her body.
I know that she shouldn’t take those posts seriously. Probably 90% of her followers love her and wish her good things, but it’s so difficult to strain out hateful comments, even in the midst of thousands of loving ones.
It’s such a scary thing being open to public scrutiny all the time. I wish there was a way to let women know not to feel threatened or hurt by those people and I wish there was a way to teach women not to do that to other women. There’s too much hate and not enough support. If women supported each other as fervently as they tore each other down, we would live in a beautiful world.