Hi, I'm Krista and — as a mom — I worry about other people's perception of me, especially on social media.
My favorite thing about Chrissy Teigen is how she is unapologetically herself – and has remained herself after becoming a wife and a mom.
Unfortunately, women who become moms get judged pretty harshly — and for ridiculous reasons. Chrissy has openly talked about how comments about her mothering affect her. During an interview with the Today show, she explained, "Not only do we have our own personal judgement and vendetta against ourselves, but we also have to read and hear these voices online all the time. It's hard to weed out."
Even though I only have about 0.000000000001% the amount of followers as Chrissy on Instagram, I still relate to how she feels when it comes to criticism online. For example, on days when I think, "OK, Krista, you brushed your hair, you cleaned up nice today, take a pic, and share that shit!" I get super nervous to post it (and a lot of times I don't post it at all) because I worry what others — specifically moms — will think or say about me.
I'm mad at myself for sometimes allowing the opinions of others to dictate what I choose to share. But, I'm human, and just like everyone else, I want to be accepted — especially in the "mom" world. So I decided to challenge myself to recreate some of Chrissy Teigen's Instagram photos in hopes of crushing the anxiety I get about what other people think.
The photos I picked to recreate are ones that pushed me outside of my comfort zone and are very different from what I would typically post...
I decided to ease myself into the experiment with this avocado photo first. It was different from anything I've ever posted before, but it wasn't ~too scary~.
I was able to take the photos in a FENCED IN backyard, so I didn't have to worry about people walking by or wondering what the hell I was doing wearing a swimsuit in February. Being able to focus my attention on my dog helped because I didn't have to look at the camera or overthink the pose. However, clicking the "post" button on Instagram was nerve-wracking!
Next, it was time to dive into the first set of ~scary~ pics. Luckily, I have supportive friends who didn't bat an eye when I said I needed help recreating some Chrissy Teigen swimsuit photos.
After posting the two photos, I started getting in my own head thinking about who would see them and what they would think. Would moms think I was trying to show off my body or get attention from men? I hate that society makes me feel this way, but it is the truth.
I lost 14 followers after I posted the swimsuit pics. For context, I don't have a lot of followers. I am basically invisible on Instagram!!! Anyway, I went from 1,374 to 1,360 followers. So the swimsuit pic only lost me about 1% of my total following. However, if Chrissy lost 1% of her following, she would lose roughly 284,000 followers (she currently has over 28 million followers).
After it happened, I tried not to let it get to me. I mean, really, why did I care that people were UNFOLLOWING me for one photo? It was silly that I was letting people I didn't even know affect my thoughts. But, I couldn't help it. I just wanted to know why those 14 people unfollowed me. Did they think I was too into myself or did they think I wasn't a good mom for posing that way on the internet? It made me feel — for lack of a better word — shitty.
I also started to wonder if I would have lost followers if I wasn't a mom. Do people think it is more acceptable for women to post photos of their bodies if they don't have children? Or, maybe I was overthinking the whole thing and people simply unfollowed because they didn't want to see me in a swimsuit, which is OK! Either way, I tried to forget about it and move on.
Chrissy posts a lot of photos with her husband John, so I decided to recruit my husband Phil for a pic.
So what kind of reaction did I get??? None really. Just a couple friends with the fire emoji for support and less likes than the previous photos. I was really just wanting to stop the experiment all together at this point, but I decided to have a glass of wine and keep going.
I love Chrissy Teigen's sense of humor and I've never posted a butt pic, so I chose this photo as my next challenge.
I knew I would be doing Chrissy a disservice if I didn't post a photo with some sort of food, so I found this one.
After posting the meat pic, I lost more followers. Eight to be exact. Here's me trying to stay positive at this point:
This last pic I chose was the hardest for me to post because posing in only a towel and heels is just something that I wouldn't normally do!
I posted the pic on a Tuesday night, took a quick screenshot of my following, and set my phone aside for the night. When I looked the next afternoon, I had four new followers — all of which were men 🥴 — but I noticed my following had still dropped by seven. So although I gained four new followers, I actually lost 11 followers from the photo.
AND THEN IT WAS OVER. HERE ARE MY FINAL THOUGHTS:
I did this experiment throughout the course of a month and I don't think I've ever had this much anxiety surrounding social media. It made me realize how toxic my brain can be when it comes to the opinions of others — sometimes even complete strangers. I know my worth is not based on likes, comments, or followers, but I have to consciously remind myself of that.
It also confirmed my belief that some people hold women to different standards after they become moms. (This was already pretty obvious to me after writing articles like this and this and this and this and this and this.) But, some of my female coworkers – who aren't mothers — have also re-created celebrity Instagrams, receiving pretty positive feedback overall. The feedback from my photos felt less supportive and more negative and — even though I gained some followers — I still lost 32 followers overall. You can read Farrah's experience re-creating Gigi Hadid, Nina's experience re-creating Selena Gomez, and Lara's experience re-creating Kylie Jenner for reference.
So my experience wasn't super fun, but I am super glad I did it (and that it's over, lol) because I learned a lot about myself. The purpose of this wasn't to get more followers, it was to truly understand just how much power the social media has over me. And, unfortunately, it's a lot. But, I am going to work on changing that! I am going to be kinder to myself...AND STOP ALLOWING STRANGERS TO HAVE POWER OVER MY SELF-WORTH!