I’m going to try to keep this one mostly safe for work.
It’s 2014…well, almost. Do you know where your children are? They’re not in the 1980s, that’s for sure. The kids (and older people) these days are kind of focused on other things aside from the dangers of being arrested for breaking curfew, and/or creepy old men in white vans. Today, they’re probably more likely to be getting into some sort of debauchery a few steps away from you making a Vine, twerk video for YouTube, or attempting to curse some pseudo-celebrity out in 140 characters (or less). But why? Well, in hopes of usurping that pseudo-celebrity and become…(Twitter) famous
Part Three of this series (link highly not safe for work, as it was the last time we posted it here) got me thinking a bit. What if there was another method to Reina’s madness? What if it wasn’t about just making out on camera or teaching the world to be appreciative of themselves, regardless of their makeup (or lack thereof)?
Disregarding that she looks like she’s 12 in this photo, what if this young woman, like many before her, is just trying to “make it” through social media usage. We’ve seen this sort of thing before (Kat Stacks, “Superhead,” the Love and Hip-Hop cast), never ending well and usually playing out as follows:
1) IDGAF attitude with some insults thrown in
2) Giving the masses/the thirst buckets something to salivate over, usually sexually charged
3) Receive hatred/buzz from your actions
4) Still DGAF, but show some sort of remorse/”humanity,” usually through showing yourself without makeup or try to blame your actions on your childhood (whether or not it’s true)
5) Minimal fame
6) Repeat ad nauseum until the world gets tired and moves on to someone else, usually leaving the initial person broken and shaking their head at the disillusion of “what could’ve been”
One has to wonder, if there are so many people who do this sort of thing (in any form) and fail, why repeat the mistakes/actions that put person A into this position?
(I apologize in advance for taking this in another direction, but this is what happens with a complicated topic.)
I think it’s a societal thing that’s exacerbated by social media. Yeah, I know. We always want to blame society. We never want to take blame for our own actions. However, societal values, whether attributed or ascribed, do have an impact on everyday behavior. Sex sells, and in a society where people are often reduced to their genitals and the like, you’ll get a person with that “I’ve gotta use what I got to get what I want. Damn the consequences” type of mentality. Add in social media and we will get people that have body issues because they don’t look like the models (or even the “models”) they are constantly bombarded with on websites, television, and so on. Because of this, they very well could attempt to “correct” their imperfections through surgery, caked-on makeup, and so on. Lastly, because of these societal issues and the explosion of social media, so-called trolling exists as it does because trolling is considered funny (which, I mean, it can be–just not all the time).
I don’t want to go too off-topic, so I’ll leave the trolls for another day. Staying with the issue of body image (and all that entails), Camille brings up some great points in her post “My Body Doesn’t Exist For Your Entertainment.” If you haven’t checked it out, I advise you do. Now, from a male perspective, I agree with a lot of what she’s saying. A woman should have the ability to say “oh, I’m going to be this or that” and not have to worry about what a man–or even another woman has to say about it. That’s all fine and good. I support that, and I try not to shame a woman’s image. It’s not how my mom raised me to be.
A while back, I was dating someone. We’ll call her Kelly. Now, Kelly was a younger white woman from Baltimore County. Stick with me, because this eventually ties back to the “social media and sex” aspect of this post. Now, Kelly? She learned from an early age that, in order to get what you need out of life, you have to show off. She also was “trained” to believe that, in order to keep a black man (as a white woman), she had to whore herself out to him and be his whipping girl–to atone for sins committed in slavery and that sort of thing. This girl was so messed-up from her “truths,” she was unable to have a decent relationship with a guy. I didn’t know this about Kelly until she sent me nude photos and rudimentary “flixxx” of herself (this was before smartphones, so the quality was atrocious–but that’s beside the point). I also didn’t know how deep it went until she started speaking about how she’d cut herself if a guy constantly didn’t say she was pretty enough, or “sexy” enough, or what have you. The last I’d heard from Kelly, she had three or four kids, was unhappy, and wished that she’d someone to teach her something besides what she learned growing up.
This brings me back to Camille’s post and my own issues with body image and sex in the media.
My issue is in addition to the patriarchal set-up of what’s considered “attractive.” My issue appears when it starts to trickle down from “the top” (read: Kardashians, video girls, even Michelle Obama’s scowl face to “That Selfie” to a degree) onto the so-called “rest of us.” And, because of this trickle, you get twelve-year-old girls posting booty shots on Instagram with captions such as “My azz so phat.” My issue is when children are doing these sorts of things trying to get some sort of buzz/notice online because they’re not loved at home. They feel that this is (partly due to social media’s obsession with instant gratification, sex, and so on AND partly due to horrible parenting) the only way that they can get that love, even if it’s a feigned “love.” My issue is, I’ve got a son who’s almost three-years-old who’s going to have to grow up in this society obsessed with instant gratification through, among other things, the sexualization of our young people. But, it goes even deeper than just “oh, society tells me that I need to be ‘sexy’ to be ‘famous.'”
Because of these ascribed traits, we start to not only question our own self-worth, but the (self-)worth of others. That’s how we get memes such as “Light/Darkskin N*ggas Be Like” or “Black B*tches Be Like.” And all the while, while you’re up in your house thinking of memes and so-called funny crap to talk about…they’re just laughing.
Who’re “They,” you ask?
Those that make the “rules,” but never seem to have them broken because people are too damned busy focusing on frivolous stuff and focusing on that perfect booty shot to notice that there’s a war going on outside. A war not for money, or oil…but for our freedom of self and for our minds. And, before you get all “Speed’s being all militant,” I’m not just talking about upper-class white people. This sort of thing goes beyond race. Class, not as much, but definitely beyond race. And as I’ve mentioned, it’s not even (just) a social media issue. However, the use of social media expands the problem to the masses in ways once thought to be impossible.
Until next time, I’m out. Hopefully, this will help guide you along a better path of knowledge and a path to make better decisions in life. If not, at least think on it for a bit.