The Instagram Star Using Social Media to Talk About Mental Health
09 January 2018
You're probably dien4sty's biggest fan, you just have no idea know who she is. That's because dien4sty doesn't give much away. You might recognize her as an "Instagram model," because if you scroll her feed it features a beautiful girl smoking, partying and playing with her snake, Ruby. But dien4sty, and its operator, is much more than what you see online.
Unlike many influencers, dien4sty decries Instagram and its negative affect on her, pleads with followers to not take social media too seriously and condemns the misogyny she experiences daily, online and off. Despite her success (she gained 24,000 followers in a day after posting a video with her pet snake), dien4sty is open about her distrust of Instagram — in fact, she's pretty open about a lot.
She'll often upload scantily-clad pictures to prove the futility of continuing to sexualize women. Shealso has no problem posing with a joint in her mouth while lauding marijuana's positive impact on her mental health, and she's even shared her struggle with depression to her followers. dien4sty is human, and she shows it. In a feed flooded with FaceTune, filters and flowers from boyfriends, the Instagrammer's authenticity is precisely what makes her so fascinating.
PAPER caught up with dien4sty to get realabout insecurity, objectification and knowing your value beyond the likes.
How does social impact your mental health?
I think at first gaining all these followers and this platform really did have me fucked up. Going from having 200-300 people liking and seeing my posts to thousands of people worldwide comes with a certain pressure. As one who's been struggling with mental illness since high school I can say I always spent a lot of time on social media comparing myself to girls I'd never look like and for as long as I can remember I hated my ethnicity and the way I looked, I hated my flat face, my little nose and my slanted eyes. I really was stuck with the mindset that beauty had one definition — one specific type of person.
One of the really dope things about the Internet today is that so many people are becoming so loving and accepting of being and looking different. Once my following had gone up significantly I realized I had people looking up to me as a role model and that made me feel weird as fuck, like, how me? How was I just a few months ago fangirling over girls on Instagram and now have girls fangirling over me? Coming to this realization really put my mind at ease. You follow these girls on Instagram and don't know their age or anything about them really, just know that she's really pretty and you wonder is she doing anything cool with her life what does she do on a day to day basis? The answer is probably nothing better than you. And isn't that so satisfying to know? For some reason we praise and think that these people with large followings on social media are any different than us and they aren't. At least I'm not. Having this platform has made me realize that no matter the following size or the amount of likes your value and significance is the same.
Do you feel a responsibility with your platform now?
Honestly at first I really did feel a pressure to do something with my platform and voice my opinion. Share the struggles and problems that I am faced with and have been through. But as time goes on I do feel I've grown to be a little lazier on my account when it comes to speaking up about topics I feel strongly about. Though I really do want to be someone people can relate to.
You've talked about being objectified in comments and through DMs, with regards to how you dress. Was how much you reveal of your body online ever a conscious decision for you?
I think nudity is powerful and nothing to be ashamed of. No matter what anyone says that will never change for me. I think people are super ignorant to sexualize the body and objectify women. I feel women should always be respected cause we some fucking bad asses. Honestly I think in today's day and age I should be able to post a photo with my bare-ass titties out and I shouldn't hear shit for it. I was shook when Instagram deleted a photo I posted when it had less than half a nipple in the photo.
Is there a way to engage while remaining disengaged?
I think Instagram is depressing, for me at least. Before I gained my following I mainly watched skate videos and that's what my popular page consisted of but after gaining my following I kind of became a little obsessive over other pretty bitches and how they were doing on Instagram which sounds so crazy. But this shit really can consume you and drive you mad. I'd start comparing myself to other girls and just make myself feel shitty. I try to spend as little of time on Instagram as possible and when I do it's to post or check my direct messages and notifications. I've stopped looking at things that were unrealistic for me.
How do you disconnect?
The best way for me to disconnect is just by going for a walk and smoking a joint while listening to music.
There are lot of posts of you smoking, and you're very open about your depression. How does weed help your mental health?
Weed has helped me so much. I started smoking in high school and it has eased me of my anxiety, helped me with my eating disorders, and helped me realize a lot of shit about myself. It's also a great way for me to forget about everything.
A recent study claimed young people struggle with perfectionism. Is that something you experience?
Without a doubt since I was a little girl I've struggled with perfectionism. I used to stare at my face in the mirror for hours as a child and find all my flaws. In high school I would lose sleep over picking and playing with my face and even eventually fucked around and tweezed off an entire eyebrow because I felt my eyebrows were uneven. I can only imagine how much worse it is now for young girls with social media now. I think I've finally come more at peace with myself and the way I look and know there's nothing I can change about my appearance and the only thing I can do is remember everyone has something they don't like about themselves and that would be my advice for anyone struggling with the obsession to try to be "perfect." Perfect doesn't exist, it's a word that you can define. Which is corny yes but seriously perfection isn't one specific thing and it's up to interpretation.
Related | Millennials Have a Perfection Problem
How would you describe your generation?
We need more people speaking up and voicing their opinions. We need people to know how they feel is valid and important we need more people creating shit, we need to stop stop focusing on the bad and start focusing on what's good in our lives, start focusing on the simpler things in life take a moment and enjoy the way the clouds look or the way the sun is shining we need less unrealistic role models and influencers. I also think celebrities with work done should speak up about it, because people need to know that nobody is perfect. We need to set more realistic standards. We need to stop having people thinking that they need to change the way they look to be perfect.
What's the best way for someone to tackle mental health battles?
The best way to tackle mental health? This one's kinda hard because it's really not that easy to overcome. When you're going through something...when you're depressed you feel helpless, but I guess the best way to get over it is to realize nothing in life is forever. Things change and shit happens. Life goes up and it goes down. But the way you feel and what's happening right now is not permanent. This hard time will pass and you will get through it and everything that you go through is going to shape and build you to be stronger. Throughout life the things you go through will give you depth they'll give you insight and you will learn from them. You have to be patient with life and how things will play out. I promise there is a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow.
Photo via Instagram