'00s Songstress Vanessa Carlton Got Real About the Perfect Bodies We See on Social Media


Remember Vanessa Carlton's 2001 pop masterpiece "A Thousand Miles"? Of course you do, because it is the best song of all time and makes a poignant statement about love and time and units of measurement.

But now, 15 years (and more great albums than you realize!) later, the singer/songwriter has taken to her Facebook and Instagram profiles to make a statement about something else: body image and social media.

"Let's get real in this Holiday Inn in Portland," she begins in a caption that accompanies a pair of stomach-revealing selfies. "Normally exposing myself like this would feel mortifying and inappropriate to me but given what I've been seeing online and knowing the way young girls and boys are affected by what they see, well, I feel moved to do this."

She then goes on to call out social media for propagating unrealistic body (and just plain life) standards.

Carlton writes:

I'm not judging the people that want to portray themselves as beautiful, organized, perfect outfitted and skinny. (I mean I love to scroll through an organizers Instagram.) But what you see on people's instagrams and Facebook is never the whole picture. People that post photos of their bodies and faces online, have almost always taken about 9 photos in hopes of getting that perfect angle, that perfect look and then they filter it. Then you see it and you think "wow she's looks amazing", meanwhile the girl that posted it is frantically checking her "likes" and comments. I've done it myself. We are all guilty.

Carlton's body-positive message of stripping away the bullshit of social media and unplugging from unrealistic images online is a familiar one as of late. Perhaps most famously, Instagram star Essena O'Neill deleted thousands of photos to protest the negative cycle of validation and insecurity that Vanessa Carlton writes about above.

"Social media, especially how I used it, isn't real," O'Neill wrote to her followers at the time. "It was never my conscious intention, but I deluded a lot of people."

Perhaps with enough people getting real about these issues, fewer people will feel the pressure to walk a thousand miles (sorry) on the treadmill just to meet the standards required for Instagram validation.