I Wanna Be Liked By You: how this society of “likes” reveals our inner fears

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             Everybody enjoys being “liked” on their favourite social media. Each time you post a new picture or a new subject to share with your friends, you are probably waiting to get some notifications on your phone screen. Sometimes, it is similar to an action movie – you are waiting and waiting, ready for something extremely interesting to happen. There is also a sort of anxiety that never leaves you. You need to be “liked” as a token of your own existence in the others’s gazes. And this factor is typical of our generation.In fact, we are fully “connected”. For example, Snapchat’s recent update allows you to see where your friends are and above all, if they are in your area. Have a nice private day, pals!

         From the morning to the evening, we all live with the others without seeing them. They are always spying on us, scrolling on our Insta stories and “liking” our pictures as we were consenting objects of consumption that they would like to buy in a supermarket. Our whole life is defined by a certain perception of ourselves that we are willing to give to others : a fake smile, beautiful dresses, nice landscapes, extraordinary holidays in The Bahamas, big cars, endless friendship and sexy lovers. We are definitely all jealous of Instagrammers. They have an amazing life surrounded by puppies, butterflies and unicorns pooping rainbows. However, the reality behind “likes” is way more complicated and exposes how much human beings are complex. There is a deep desire to be seen, to be loved and to feel almost “relieved” that many people “crave” for our updates. It thus seems that we exist to please our peers as if we were always trying to escape our loneliness. In his famous song “Carmen”, Belgian singer Stromae explains that our perception of love took a whole different meaning over the last few years. In English, it is even more striking with the use of the verb “to like” instead of “to love”. We “like” tennis, but also pasta, ducks and your friend’s friend. “Like” is such a common word to identify a difficult concept that falls somewhere on the love spectrum. After all, we could ask ourselves: what’s love? Love is divided into so many emotions that it would take years to study them all. The art of attraction is still very hard to deal with. You experience love in so many ways with a huge range of individuals that a simple “click” on Facebook is not enough to prove that you love someone. These particular moments of joy that you cannot not translate into Instagram posts are already extremely difficult to express through arts. For example, Nathalie Sarraute, in Tropismes, shows that we cannot explain our emotions: they appear like an ephemeral twist and change both our physical and intellectual reactions. These little clues of our inner-self reveal our anxiety, our capacity of thinking and of course, our deep feelings of love. And these subtle elements are now ignored because we live in a society steeped into superficial goals.

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         Sorry folks, but “likes” are nothing more than “clicks” – desperate “clicks” that say : “Please, love me. Even if I don’t know you. Even if you don’t truly care about me. Even if we have nothing in common. Love me, for the sake of loving me !”

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         Ultimately, the society of “likes” is dangerous and based on fake opinions. More recently, Essena O’Neill, an Australian Instagram model, quited the famous social media claiming it didn’t reveal the truth about herself. She decided to erase her comments on her Instagram’s pictures in order to put forward how she felt when she took these numerous selfies. That is why she denounced self-promotion, manipulation and body insecurities behind these perfect images. You could be the prettiest girl in the world and get no “likes” because you don’t share a certain type of content on your Instagram. Some dedicate their whole day to figure out what to post in order to get people’s attention more easily. The beauty game on Youtube is an interesting example because it became a genuine business to expose ourselves on social media and to ask for “likes”. They attract companies and promote their products through their videos. And as you can imagine, they gain some money for this. However, if you take a look closely at their videos, they all look like each other and they do what you can actually do yourself in front of your mirror. Ladies, bring your foundation, your eye-liner and some liptstick : you’ll conquer the beauty game and maybe you’ll get a chance to be the new face of L’Oréal! Not only it shows a sexist image of women associated only with cooking, make-up and fashion, but also reveals a clever commercial strategy. In addition to this, it just desacrates the real meaning of “love” in order to make it a common thing. You are distributing “likes” just like an automatic Coke distributor: to everybody, at any moment and for no reason. We all aim to love and to be loved. Consequently, this feeling of satisfaction when someone likes you is “normal” because you interpret this notification as proof of your own existence. We live within a society, so being recognized by the others is important for us as it helps to build a web of relationships that can be emotional or professional. Although it is not a bad thing to get suddenly happy when someone “likes” you, we should not be affected or depressed if social media ignores us. We are not a product of what the others might perceive. Conversely, we build ourselves thanks to what we do every day and our own experience.

         That is why, we shouldn’t be “liked by you” but by ourselves. Like yourself as the strong and independent individual that you are. And maybe others will like you even more.

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