Keeping up with the Joneses – How social media is affecting women

There are 3 Billion people logging in to social media daily. Yes, 3 Billion! To put that into perspective that makes up 40% of the world population, so nearly half of the world is on social “DAILY”. According to recent statistics, women are more active on social media when it comes to platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. So as women, we are bombarded with content everyday and we don’t know how our mind is processing this information. Add the “influencer” culture to mix and you get the perfect recipe for a disaster. “Have you seen where she was on holidays? Was that a Fendi bag her husband got her? Omg her house is stunning, I definitely need an upgrade to my lounge now! Oh I’m just so fat, look how skinny she is!” These are some of the thoughts that might pop in your head while innocently scrolling through your feed.  Most of us follow influencers on social media, but do we really know what effects these influencers’ stories are having on our religious and mental health? Sure you can get defensive about it and say, “I know this is all filtered images and it’s not real, and that these harmless stories aren’t affecting me?” Well, scientific evidence says otherwise. Studies have shown that social media has a negative impact on body image in younger women, and it often leads to a sense of inadequacy in older women, around their lifestyle when compared to the “instaready” social lives and careers of others on social media. To solve this issue psychologists advise that you “unfollow” those who makes you feel bad about yourself. But is there more to this? We need to remember that we all only post snapshots of our greatest moments while we hide away all the problematic ones behind the scenes. Some couples portray their lives as though they are living amazingly well, yet most often they are troubled. The idea of comparing yourself to others has been mentioned many times in the Hadith and Quran. 
“And do not wish for that, by which Allah has made some of you exceed others.” (Quran 4:32 Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “There should be no envy but only in case of two persons: one having been endowed with wealth and power to spend it in the cause of Truth, and (the other) who has been endowed with wisdom and he decides cases with the help of it and teaches it (to others).”
Then, comes the quality of our feed. Do we really need to follow those 50 house renovation accounts? Are we really benefiting from seeing that influencer’s summer clothing haul? Do you really need to know how her house, husband and children look like, when you don’t really know this person in real life?
The Messenger of Allah said, “Part of the perfection of one’s Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him.”
What’s more troubling about the world of social media is the attachment to worldly matters that seeps through our hearts while watching these extravagant, over the top stories the constant FOMO we all feel if we’re not connected!
But you prefer the worldly life, While the Hereafter is better and more enduring. (Quran 87:16-17)
So before you follow, or become “friends” with someone on social media, you should be asking yourself, “How is this person making me feel about myself? And is this person going to benefit my religious status?”
“Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend.” (Quran 25:28) The Prophet ﷺ said, “Man follows his friend’s religion, you should be careful who you take for friends”. (Hasan)