Okay so first of all lets start with the facts:
What is a catfish?
A catfish is someone who uses false information to cultivate a persona online that does not represent their true identity.
what is cat fishing?
Catfishing is a deceptive activity where a person creates a fictional persona or fake identity on a social networking platform, usually targeting a specific victim.
In basic terms:
A catfish is someone who fakes an identity in order to manipulate another person, for financial gain or to cyber bully an individual. – Yes this is a real thing, and yes it happens.
In fact a recent stat has shown that romance scams (cat fishing) are now bigger than online shopping fraud. It’s a real issue.
In 2020 over £68million pound was lost by victims as a result of romance scams (cat-fishing)
Now you’re probably sat thinking okay so where’s she going with this???
Has she been catfished? etc…
Not exactly no… (in fact not at all no)
However the reason for me touching on this subject is because the term ‘CATFISH’ gets thrown around these days like something stupid, and not with the correct connotations.
& yes I’ve been on the receiving end of this, hence my reason for sharing.
As you’re probably already aware, the word catfish is also a label used by certain individuals to criticise another individual for their looks (ie. looking different to their photographs – and yes many of us are guilty of a slight filter, me included)
Many individuals who use this term, often cyber bully’s (the real catfishes), set up fake profiles, to hide behind screens, and use social media to terrorise individuals about their looks, their livelihoods and often their families.
Our generation has witnessed many lives which have been taken as a result of cyber bullying and the mental health issues connected to social media, and yet there are still individuals out their contributing to this madness.
I struggle to understand how certain individuals make use of their valued time, by bringing harm / torment to others in this way.
But the truth is… it still happens.
So lets be real and talk about it.
I recently did a poll asking what pressures people feel from society and the highest responses were:
⁃ To look a certain way (more beautiful, some even used the word ‘perfect’)
⁃ Pressure from Social Media
First of all… I think its important to identify that Social media is a highlight reel of peoples lives.
And the majority of what you see is edited, filtered, staged and posed.
We follow influencers, models and icons in awe of their style, looks and figures and yes 99% of these images which you see will have been edited in some way, so I think its always important to be mindful that what you see online is not always a true reflection.
Many individuals choose to only portray themselves living their best lives and sharing best images, with a full face of make-up, in their best outfits, after selecting 1 photo from 100 potential photos which have been taken. (Okay so maybe not everyone… but a lot of people do this, myself included on occasions – and you can guarantee each of us has criticised every photo, identified every flaw, and are aware of all of our bad angles – before taking on the criticism from anyone else)
Moving on to the real elephant in the room and the main issue here…FILTERS
And okay yes, we can all be guilty of adding a filter or an edit every now and again… (me included)… its 2021!
Filters on apps such as snapchat, face app, instagram and many more create a more beautiful version of ourselves and our features.
These are unrealistic creations and the image displayed by these apps causes us to be unhappy with our real life image and complexion.
Filters are enhancements, it is what it is, and unfortunately as a generation we’ve become accustomed to this.
And yes although I am guilty of participating in this culture…I agree that it is problem…. It is not a true reflection… it is not real life.
Does that make me (or anyone else for that matter) a CATFISH?…. Depending on who you ask Maybe so??… I’m a big girl, I can take it.
But the questions is… why do we do it?
Why do we edit / filter ourselves?
I obviously can’t answer for everyone, but I know for myself it is quite simply because it makes me feel better about my appearance, more in line with the social media standards and more accepting of myself. (We all have insecurities)
Yes this is vanity, and I agree that the world would probably be a much better place without it.
But again…. It’s 2021 and this is the world we live in!
If only we could strip it back and become happy with our true image, the unedited unfiltered version of ourselves.
If we could ban all filters and be more authentic.
I’d love for this to become the new normality… for people to feel happy and confident in their own skin, myself included.
Should we start a movement?…
Are we Brave enough?…
And if were not brave enough, does this mean we should be criticised for it?… I personally don’t think so.
Should we be mindful of it?… Most definitely
Now lets talk about another form of enhancement…. Make-Up!
Because lets face it, we all look different, with and without it (Yes… Guilty 🙋🏼♀️)
It doesn’t matter if you’re Hayley Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid… even the most beautiful people in the world look different with and without make-up. Now this does not mean your face is not beautiful without it, it is… but make up enhances our features, which in turn does make us appear more beautiful according to social standards. The art of contouring and highlighting creates the illusion that our noses are smaller, jaw lines more prominent, cheek bones appear enhanced and lips appear fuller…. These are just half of the tricks in the book, and I think its important to recognise that people do not look like this 24/7.
In normal everyday life, If you catch the majority of us emptying the bin, nipping to the petrol station or running into the local shop (with the hope that we won’t bump into anyone) there’s a high possibility that we do look like the walking dead… (I’ll throw in after a workout there too, because if you’ve seen me leaving any gym class, then you’ll understand).
Add in the fact that we’re in the middle of a national lockdown, and I don’t know about you guys but I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve actually worn normal clothes and worn a full face of make-up.
So if you see me out and about on one of my 3 walks a day, or running in and out of Tesco then yes… guaranteed, I for one, will most definitely look different to how I look with a full face of make-up (Guilty 🤷🏼♀️)
Does wearing make up now make someone a catfish too?…
I don’t know about you guys, but I look like a real life Morticia when I wake up in the morning, but I choose not to display this on my social media…
Why?…. because no one needs that kind of fright first thing of a morning… so that is my kind daily gesture to you all.
But on a serious note… Can we please get rid of the ‘catfish’ catcalling / name calling / trolling or whatever you want to call it for non-genuine cases of ‘cat-fishing’ (as listed in the first paragraphs above)… its unnecessary, a waste of valuable brain power and energy.
Use that stuff for something more useful… spread some positivity out there instead.
The world needs far more of that than the negative stuff 😘
So a couple of things to take away from this:
1. Cat fishing is a form of manipulation, a false indentity used to target a victim.
2. Be mindful when using social media that a lot of what you see is filtered / edited and you are beautiful in real life as you are, unfiltered.
3. If posting a nice picture makes someone happy then let them post that picture without criticism. If you don’t like it, dont be a troll… use that thumb to scroll past it (respectfully)
4. If you see me around my apartment, in tescos, in the gym, or at any other venue other than my work or a social gathering, DO NOT BE ALARMED 🙂
5. Catfishing is a real thing – Use it to spread real awareness by alerting your friends on dating apps etc, to be careful to not fall victim of romance scams.
6. Let’s try to be more unfiltered… more authentic 💛
Thank for listening….
Have you ever been called a catfish?