l o v e . l i v e . t r a v e l. e a t. p r a i s e.
I read an article recently about “Travel Shaming”. Apparently there is “Mummy Shaming” and “Body Shaming”. In fact, I think there is “Insert Anything Here Shaming” which can be applied to pretty much…well… anything. Basically the idea behind the “shaming” is that depending on the topic of the photo, it is meant to make other people feel shame because they aren’t travelling enough, working out enough, or nailing motherhood.
Okay so I’m not a mother, and I don’t have a kick-ass body that won’t quit, so I sure ain’t shaming anyone in those categories. However the term “Travel Shaming” stung me slightly. Do I do it? Am I travel shamer? Are they writing about me? I went in to defensive mode almost straight away. I’ve given it a few days before spilling my thoughts on it, and as it turns out, maybe this is a thing. As much as no one wants to admit it, the majority of things posted in Instagram are out to brag (even a tiny little bit), which could cause someone to feel shame in some small way—even if the poster didn’t set out to intentionally cause shame.
Group selfies of you and your gang hanging out could be saying, “Check out my friends, I bet I have more than you do, oh what a social life I have!” CONSTANT regrams of wedding pictures (and I am only talking about CONSTANT, because of course you would want to share a few beautiful pictures from your special day) just scream, “I’M MARRIED BISHES! Someone wanted me, they got me and now they want to spend their eternity with my amazing self. Look how hot I am in this wedding dress with 25 layers of make-up, falsies and hair extensions. GO ME!” And of course there are the work-out selfies conveying in totes chilled-out tones, “I have my life sooooo together that I even get to the gym a few times a week. Check these abs forming! Seriously check them! Also here are my super pretty Nike frees.” Not to forget of course the food grams, which could be saying either “I made this therefore I am pretty much Jamie Oliver”; “My husband made this because he loves me and is the greatest and I have my entire life under control”; or of course again the whole social life aspect of “I have people I get to go out and brunch with, look at this amazing dish and how hipster these perfect poached eggs look perched upon this bed of home-grown, organic, steamed baby spinach leaves.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not attacking anyone specifically. I fact I am pretty sure I am guilty of the group selfies, work-out pics and food grams. Unfortunately it just seems to be in our nature to do this, and yes, sometimes I am guilty of it, even if my intention isn’t to deliberately make the other people feel guilty because they are not travelling, or brunching or whatever else—but they could certainly see it that way.
Simply, we don’t generally see Instagrams of that person with an amazing social life spending every other night on the couch watching Friends reruns alone; or that person brunching only eating coco pops every other morning; nor do we see pictures of that beautiful blushing bride on the floor with messy hair and mascara stained cheeks after fights with her human husband in her imperfect marriage. It’s just not in our nature to showcase our struggles or our flaws. We want to show people the best aspects of our lives, because we want people to want to be like us and think we are nailing this life thing. We edit what we share with people and it becomes a filtered view—and I don’t just mean by Kelvin, Nashville or X-Pro II. (If you’re not a gram fan just forget that last attempt at trying to be funny and keep on reading).
Travel is no different. We want to share the amazing sunset we’re seeing for a few minutes, not that giant scuff on a white wall in an airport we’ve been staring at for 5 hours. So maybe it isn’t a great thing, but a I don’t believe it’s always the poster’s intention to shame others. It’s just the way it is with so many platforms to share our lives on these days, whether the posts are travel related or not. Even though people would probably would love to see others instagramming their fears, failures and regrets to make them feel better about themselves (we’re sick right!?), it just isn’t going to happen. Social media has created a forum where we can leave out the messy parts of our lives, and unless we are after sympathy and attention (we all know those people right?), we are going to edit all the crap out. So yes, maybe I am guilty of “Travel Shaming” then. I only predominately post pictures of the nice places I stay, not the crappy, tiny, falling to bits, types of accommodation which I definitely do stay in. I only want to show people the nice parts of my trip and remind them I am doing something I love, but it is never my intention to make people feel guilty for not travelling, or for their life choices. It is just the way of social media to brag a little bit and edit it so that our lives look amazing, whether that is our love lives; our children; our friends; our fancy, expensive things; or of course, travelling.
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