We're All Guilty of Untagging, But Here's Why You Should Stop

Young woman using cellphone outdoors
Body positive Instagrammer Megan Jayne Crabbe wants you to stop untagging yourself in less-than-flattering photos. (Image: KristinaJovanovic/iStock/GettyImages)

We’ve all been there. After a unforgettable night with friends, you wake up late and decide to catch up on Facebook. Blood rushes to your face as you find more notifications than usual waiting for you, and your suspicions are confirmed when you find that your photography-loving friend has uploaded and tagged you in several unflattering photos. In a panic, you immediately go to work untagging yourself and cross your fingers that your crush hasn’t seen them yet.

But body positive Instagrammer and best-selling author of “Body Positive Power” Megan Jayne Crabbe wants you to stop erasing yourself on social media. To prove her point, Crabbe, also known as @bodyposipanda, recently posted her take on a “before and after” photo. The “before” shot features a curated selfie taken in good lighting from a flattering angle, while the candid “after” photo is taken from what she considers to be an unflattering angle.

“I remember a time when seeing ‘your friend has tagged you in a new photo’ would make my stomach hit the floor. I would drop everything and rush to untag it,” Crabbe captions her post. “The only version of myself I wanted people to see was the carefully selected, highly edited, what I believed to be the most ‘flattering’ (read: thin) version. I was so convinced that was the only version of my reflection worth seeing, and what other people thought of it was everything.”

Crabbe believes that we struggle with tagged photos because we get hung up on everything that’s wrong with the way we’re portrayed. But rather than “zooming in” (i.e., focusing on minute imperfections), Crabbe wants her followers to try something different.

“Zoom out to the whole picture. I want you to remember what that photo was for,” she writes. “It was taken to capture a moment. That’s it. How your hair looked or the size of your body doesn’t matter. Remember how you felt. Remember that sight, that smell, that feeling, that joy. Remember the living.”

But can looking at less-than-ideal photos of ourselves actually bring us joy? The answer is yes. One 2013 study.html) found that 75 percent of Facebook users look at their own photos when they’re feeling low as a way to boost their mood. And it turns out that they’re not checking to see if they’ve still got it.

“The pictures we often post are reminders of a positive past event,” Dr. Clare Wilson, a psychologist and colleague of the study author who was not involved in the research, comments. “When in the grips of a negative mood, it is too easy to forget how good we often feel. Our positive posts can remind us of this.”

If that’s not enough proof, see for yourself by visiting your own profile and looking at photos from four or five years ago. Chances are you won’t be upset by your bad hair day or acne spots.

So the next time you find yourself mortified by a tagged photo, remember Crabbe’s advice. The photos you’re taking now are like gifts to your future self. Plus, your confidence will likely inspire your friends to embrace their own “flaws” and help to change the way we use social media.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you often untag yourself in “unflattering” photos? Do you agree with Crabbe’s message? How does social media impact your mood and self-esteem? Share in the comments section!

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