The internet's biggest yogi just slammed social media in the best rant ever
If you asked fans of Rachel Brathen, aka Instagram's famous yoga_girl, what her three favorite things are, they'd probably tell you yoga, Insta and her pet goat Penny. On Friday, we learned that those fans would be very, very wrong.
Brathen took to her 1.9 million followers on Instagram, to express her frustration with the inauthenticity of social media. It's something many of us have felt, or at least have recognized, but to see someone of her stature speak — or snap — like this, is almost a shock.
She touches on the hypocrisy of sponsored Instagram posts, the exploitation and sexualization of women in "fitness" photos and sad state of photos that get likes, in a caption nearing 500 words.
Brathen writes, "I look at this social media world and don't fucking know what's going on. In one way there is a lot of beauty here. When I'm authentic I get authenticity back and it's the most powerful thing. But some days I look around and a part of me goes WHAT ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE DOING?! Every post I see is skinny people in yoga poses with a Gandhi quote pasted below. Or a girl's ass, hashtag #squats. Or fake cross promotions. Or hidden ads for weight loss teas or dating apps. I HATE ALL THIS SHIT."
She expands on her frustration, which includes the fact that people seem more focused on bikini photos than charity. Uh, yes, that does sound A) very believable and B) awful to deal with on a daily basis. She continues, "Did you know that every time I post a real, authentic post with WORDS and FEELINGS I lose 2-6 thousand followers? Per post! I get the lowest engagement on posts that promote philanthropy and social missions. It kills me that @109world [her yoga website] is struggling while people like Kylie Jenner is making millions selling lipgloss to teenagers."
She ends with a call to action for her fans, and others with strong Instagram followings, to use their powers for good instead of simply to make money or make others feel like their lives need to be more photogenic. "I have dedicated my influence to making this world a better place," she says. "I run a global non profit, an animal rescue, and a platform for healing. Everything I've ever promoted has gone to better the world because I feel so strongly that using this influence for anything else would be plain ridiculous... If you have an IG account with any sort of influence, what are you really doing here? Why am I so alone in ACTING to make a change? I feel so unmotivated right now. I don't want to succumb to sharing the bullshit that gets 'likes' but it's so discouraging to see massive declines in interest whenever I share something real. Don't you ever wonder about our purpose here? Well... I do."
As Cosmopolitanpoints out, Brathen rarely works with brands and makes a point to be encouraging to her followers rather than "make them jealous." Instead of selling, say, diet tea, she makes her living teaching yoga in Aruba and in conferences around the world.
In the garbage world that is social media, her account is one of the rare beacons of positivity, that also happens to have millions of followers. Let's hope that she's just having a bad day and looking to inspire change, not delete her account. The photo has gotten almost 23,000 likes so far, which, thankfully, is three thousand more than her last bikini pic.