The Myth of Authentic Living

By The Beacon | September 22, 2015 8:46am

by Rebekah Markillie |

The Instagram account @SocialityBarbie is taking the Internet by storm. After Sociality Barbie was featured in a story from Wired, other popular news sites such as HelloGiggles, BuzzFeed, Elite Daily all scrambled to jump on the bandwagon and @SocialityBarbie skyrocketed to 1.3 million followers. Sociality Barbie is a satirical Instagram account documenting the authentic living of a plastic Barbie. The irony is perfect.

“I was getting tired of seeing people taking the same pictures, in the same places, and using the same captions all while hash-tagging ‘Live Authentic,’” The creator of the account told BuzzFeed. “I’ve sat in coffee shops and watched people set their coffee on the floor while they stand on a chair just to make their morning cup of coffee appear more interesting than it really is.”

And that’s exactly it – people are using social media to fabricate a more real and interesting life behind the guise of “Authentic Living.”

What does authentic living even mean? That you buy marked up clothes from Free People, spend lots of money on a fancy camera, go on hikes and take classes at expensive yoga studios? How is that any more authentic than the regular cup of coffee I make at home?

We’re calling out magazines for photoshopping models to appear healthier and thinner – we want them to portray “real women” with their stretch marks and skin rolls. But at the same time we’re going to great lengths to make sure the blueberries we picked on our hike the other day are posed, photographed and filtered to hide flaws and create the perfect “authentic” aesthetic.

It seems that our effort for effortless perfection has become so pervasive we’re starting to believe our own Internet facades and the pseudoscience our gurus tell us about spirituality and enlightenment.

In our quest for authenticity we’ve turned to hypocrisy and lies – that’s about as far away from “real” as it is possible to be. So check yourself, what are you trying convey when you purchase a new filter pack from vsco cam? What does it mean to be “real?”

Rebekah Markillie is the design editor  for The Beacon and can be reached at or on Twitter @r_markillie