Today, I saw a post on Instagram that said something to the effect of warning women to not engage in every single social media challenge that pops up, as they're not always the most wholesome and it's an easy trap to fall into.
This is something I've thought about SO much over the last year. Especially with the rise in social media apps like TikTok and of course, Instagram bringing in their Reels feature to the app.
Right when the pandemic began, I downloaded TikTok like everyone else. I watched the videos and Cain and I even taught ourselves one of the fun viral dances. But the more I watched, and saw the type of content that young people were making, the less sure I was if this was something I really wanted to be a part of.
Now, as someone who grew up in a dance studio, I'm no stranger to dancing on a stage or in front of the camera. However, recently I've started to feel like these viral dances are getting more and more inappropriate and the ages of girls doing them are getting younger, and younger.
Many of these girls are in high school or middle school, scantily clad, gyrating and whipping their hair around like Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, for an audience of men and women they likely don't even know.
I've held these opinions silently until the most recent challenge I became aware of, "the silhouette challenge". In this challenge, men, women or couples showcase their silhouettes while doing...whatever they want to do. According to the www.colinproject.com the challenge was a a part of a movement to encourage body positivity, but all I've seen is another excuse for women to be sexy on the internet in an attempt to garner attention or views.
The most provocative I've seen, being one in which a couple is standing in a doorway, and when the beat drops, their clothes magically come off, revealing them in their underwear in silhouettes. They proceed to engage in what I can only describe as meant for the bedroom activities and finally, they end the short video with the male counterpart slapping the female counterpart on the rear end.
I was shooketh.
How did we get here? How did Instagram go from cute pictures of your dog to almost being NSFW?
All of this got me thinking about whether or not social media is good for the soul. And if not...why do we participate in it? And how can we use it in a way that is freeing and life giving?
The truth is, I don't actually think social media itself is the one to blame. In fact, if there was no way to make money or gain any notoriety from it, I doubt social media would be as widespread as it is today.
But the fact is that somehow, we the people, have decided that we enjoy watching other people's lives more than we enjoy living our own. And because of this, companies and brands are keenly aware, that they can make more money by selling our time and attention spans to other random people in the world.
(On this note, if you haven't watched "The Social Dilemma" on Netflix, I would highly suggest it.)
Think about it..when you were 10 years old, did you have any idea what other 10 year olds in Australia were doing with their lives? Did you care? I can only speak for myself, but I certainly didn't know, nor did I care. But as social media began taking over the world, and our curiosity began getting the best of us, we all of a sudden were curious about what some gorgeous blonde chick was doing down in Sydney. We gave her our time and attention. We gave her a follow on YouTube or Instagram, and then brands and companies started paying her money...because we paid her attention.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying being an influencer is bad or being interested in being an influencer is bad at all. If it was, I would've never met all of you. But have we ever stopped to think why so many people want likes and follows? And what everyone is willing to do to get there?
Influencers who are the most notorious, people like Alexis Ren who are famous for none other than being beautiful and posting lots of photos of her "ideal" body, have ended up on shows like, "Dancing With The Stars" and in music videos for the biggest artists, all because we put her there. Famous TikToker Addison Rae is now bffs with the Kardashians. And Charlie D'Amelio was in a music video with several famous rappers and singers. We put influencers up on a pedastal. Then we're sad when we're not on the same pedestal.
So what do we do? How can we engage in social media without obsessing over people we don't know and falling into the scrolling trap, watching things we may not even want to see? Here are some general rules I try to live by when it comes to how I interact with social media.
Social Media Timer: This has always been a lifesaver for me. It snaps me out of mindless scrolling and is a quick reminder for me to get up and do something else with my life. You can access your social media timer by going into Settings and selecting "Screen Time", and placing a timer on your desired apps.
One Shot Rule: As a general rule, whenever I see someone post something that offends me, I immediately unfollow. Whether it's a reels video that I found to be a little too provocative or a post that promotes false information, I only give people one shot. I'm not going to spend my time having conversations with everyone on the internet, and even if I did, it's unlikely that I would change anyone's mind. Instead, I clear my feed of people whose content I don't wish to see.
Follow What Feeds: As another general rule, I try to only follow accounts that feed my soul and bring me genuine happiness. Pages of inspirational quotes, other women who post about homemaking, flowers, puppies and French style and decor pretty much fill up my feed. And I like it that way. Following the influencer with the picture perfect home, body and life, while aesthetically pleasing, does absolutely nothing for my soul. In fact, often times it just makes me feel inadequate or behind in some way. And who wants that?
Here are some of my absolute favorite soul-serving, informational or straight up pretty accounts:
https://www.instagram.com/_lisaolivera/ - Inspiring words galore.
https://www.instagram.com/halfbakedharvest/ - Stunning food and recipes
https://www.instagram.com/sewrena_/ - Black Vintage Femininity Inspo
https://www.instagram.com/berrionlberry/ - Cycle info
https://www.instagram.com/misss2005/ - All the throwbacks you need
Block Party: If someone sends me a message that's inappropriate or makes a comment that is just downright hurtful, I don't engage, I delete and block. Many of you saw my vlog from this weekend where Cain and I went ring shopping. And while there were SO many supportive comments, there were also a few people mixed in there who weren't so supportive. They made some comments that were less than savory, but luckily, the #fancies came out in droves to support and defend our love. Regardless, those people have been blocked from the channel and will never get to see another Feminine Fancy video again. Too bad for them!
Ultimately, I think the best way to engage with social media, is to fit it into your life, not fit your life AROUND it. We should be out, playing, exploring, loving and learning. So much so that we don't have as much time for diving deep into someone else's life.
Let's scroll less and turn pages more. Let's actually make those delicious recipes. Let's create home videos, and keep them to....ourselves? A concept.
Now don't get me wrong. Obviously social media is incredibly powerful and there are some wonderful creators out there who are doing good things in the world. We just gotta find and follow the right ones.
Alright loves, that's it for today's blog post! I hope enjoyed it and I hope you spend a little time this week off social and in life.