Okay, so I know the answer to this question seems fairly obvious…yes. We are most definitely in the era of social media at the moment. I think it’s safe to say that if you don’t have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat account, you may as well not even be considered a member of the public nowadays.
The concept of this “social media takeover” seems to be widespread. I’ve heard that most companies don’t even invest as much in advertisements nowadays, because the most powerful form of marketing at the moment is social media, which is completely free. Not to mention the fact that, as the great Charlamagne tha God always says, social media has also desensitised a lot of the younger generation, to the point where when something tragic happens, which is unfortunately becoming more of a common occurrence in 2018, instead of using their smartphones to call the police or an ambulance, people are filming the tragedy purely to “entertain” they’re Instagram or Snapchat followers. I use the word ‘entertain’ in inverted commas, because you cannot possibly describe some of the horrible things people have had the audacity to film recently, such as the murder of rapper XXXTentacion, as entertainment. If you do, then you should seek professional help immediately. It’s true you know: “smart phones, stupid people”. Another quote from tha God himself.
It’s funny because although these thoughts occurred to me quite some time ago, I have been thinking about it all pretty heavily just this past week in particular. I think it all started when I was watching the latest episode of BKChat New York the other day. For those of you that don’t know, BKChat is a show on YouTube where a group of young adults have a discussion/debate on topics that are relevant in society today. For example, rape culture has come up quite often in several episodes, on the back of the ongoing #MeToo situation. There are three different editions of the show: BKChat London, BKChat Houston and a BKChat New York. I have watched all three, and as interesting as it is to watch a heated debate on a controversial topic with different individuals, I can only conclude that, in my opinion, most of them usually have a very narrow-minded, old-fashioned, patriarchal and sexist way of thinking. Yes, even the women. That’s why I think I’d consider BKChat NY my favourite one, even though they have had the least amount of episodes. I feel as if these episodes feature the only BKChat panel where the majority of it’s members don’t think this way, are a lot more open-minded and a lot less judgemental. Basically, they talk that real shit, is how I would describe it. Whereas I feel as if the members of the panel on the other two, particularly the London edition, only speak on behalf of a certain kind of individual i.e. one who is probably black, religious(ish), completely in touch with their culture and tradition, and if they are female, they probably consider themselves superior to the rest of us because they can count the amount of men they’ve slept with on one hand. This last part is not applicable for the men. They can run through as many females as they damn well please, and still be welcomed in open arms at church on Sunday. It’s a great society we’re living in, right?
Anyway, I have sooo much more to say about BKChat, but I’m going to leave it there before I forget what I’m actually supposed to be writing about. In fact, I think I might make an entirely separate entry about it. Yeah, I think I’ll do that. But in the meantime: the reason I bring it up is because the topic they brought up in the latest episode was one I found captivating:
Who is to blame for the over-sexualisation of women in the entertainment industry? Is it the industry for enforcing it, or the women for allowing it?
As I’m sure you can imagine, there were a variety of opinions on this particular subject. They certainly posed an interesting question, and while the debate was heavy, everyone seemed to be in agreement that the way women are portrayed in the media today has a great effect on women in society, particularly teenagers or young women still growing. From the Kim Kardashians to the Amber Roses to the Blac Chynas, a lot of women watching seem to be trying to follow suit and are therefore looking for their next hustle. When I was in school, young women would aspire to be doctors, lawyers, businesswomen, actors etc. They would strive towards a profession that they thought could both make them happy and live a fruitful life.
Now as I said, this is one of those topics where different individuals are bound to pose different opinions. So I can only speak on behalf of myself and state what I think personally. And personally, I do not knock anyone, woman or man, who is trying to get their hustle, no matter what it might be. Cardi B is a female icon that I personally admire, and she started off as a stripper, before moving onto Love & Hip Hop and then finally becoming recognised as the star she has become today. Cardi lived a pretty rough life back then and you know, bills had to be paid. Of course in an ideal world, I’m pretty sure most women would embark on a profession that didn’t objectify and sexualize women, but this is life we’re talking about. It is not fair, and it certainly isn’t easy. Most of the ones who sit on a pedestal and judge strippers or video vixens are in a fortunate position where they aren’t left with those kinds of decisions to make, because we have loving parents that can take care of us. Not that I’m saying that Cardi B didn’t have loving parents. But there are a lot of women that don’t really have family that they can depend on, often forcing them to be financially independent from a young age. Some women have children that they need to feed, and again, no one to rely on for money. So what should they do? Are you telling me that if you’re in the position where you have mouths to feed, and you literally have absolutely no idea where your family’s next meal is coming on, not to mention the other bills that need to be paid, making roughly a grand a night just to take your clothes of isn’t going to sound appealing to you? Of course it would. Hell I don’t have these kinds of problems, and it sounds appealing to me right now. A colleague from work once told me that she ran into a girl from her school and she was now a stripper. She just bought her own house and she’s 22 years old. So yeah, that should give you an idea of the kind of income they’re raking in.
Some women enjoy stripping as well, and so what if they do? I’ve never quite understood why what other people choose to do with their lives and bodies enrages certain others so much. If it’s not my business, I really don’t see what the big deal is. Some women enjoy being video vixens, or modelling raunchy pictures. So fucking what? I understand that some of the members of the BkChat panel were trying to make the point that a lot of women are starting to behave as if those are the only or best options available to them if attempting to head down the road to success. I definitely agree with that, and this should not be the case. However can you blame women for feeling this way? Because of the amount of female influencers on social media at the moment, not to mention the women on reality shows such as Love & Hip Hop and Real Housewives etc., the plastic surgery epidemic has never soared to greater heights than it has done today. I mean, women were always getting their boobs done, particularly after you’ve had children and they’ve started to wreak havoc on your nipples. (Not looking forward to that, I’m very fond of my tits to be honest). However when I was younger, there weren’t a huge load of women getting surgery on their ass to make it bigger. In fact, from what I remember, white girls didn’t even used to like having a big ass. It was construed as bad thing, even in the reign of J-Lo. But then, when icons like Nicki Minaj became more popular, it started to become more of a trend. And boom, all of a sudden here comes Kim K and ladies are running to the nearest plastic surgeon to get those butt shots.
Now as I said, unlike most Nigerians, I don’t judge anyone. If you want an ass the size of the moon, and you’ve got the funds, you go get that shit honey. If you want boobs like Pamela Anderson, you get those titties plumped. However I do think it is a sad concept that a lot of women only think this way because they feel that they need it to be successful, or even worse, to be deemed attractive or desirable. There were plenty of beautiful and sexy women in the spotlight with slim, lean bodies: Eve, Mya, Cameron Diaz, Zoe Saldana and the amazing Eva Marcille, winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 3 (love her!). But for some reason, when it comes to females that aren’t in the spotlight, having a ballooned up booty, but still keeping a tightly toned stomach, seems to be mandatory to be popular or sexy. But I kind of get it, I mean Amber Rose is certainly winning. Blac Chyna is winning (she’s moving stupid these days, but she’s still winning) and Kim K is most certainly winning. Her youngest sister is about to be the youngest self-made billionaire in the world, male or female, purely because Kim got her back blown out a few years ago by a certain little brother of the incredible Brandy. It’s no wonder that a lot of women are subliminally starting to think that shaping their body like theirs must be the way to win now.
This has been on my mind lately because when you actually keep your eyes peeled for it, this subliminal messaging is everywhere! Even on Fashion Nova. If you take a good look at the models that are advertising their clothes, sometimes when you compare what they look like in them to what you look like in them once you get it, you just want to crawl up in a ball and die. They pretty much all have the exact body types I was describing above, although the derriere is not quite as big. Just perfectly round and proportionate enough. Not only are they’re bodies perfect, but their makeup is flawless and their lace fronts are ON POINT. It’s enough to make you want to strangle yourself with your own wig sometimes. Well, me anyway. This is exactly what motivated me to write this in the first place. It suddenly occurred to me the other day, that when I was younger, I didn’t have as big of a butt as I do now. But my stomach was always pretty much flat, and I don’t really remember ever feeling so bad about myself and the way my body looks, as I have done this year. I mean, I know I didn’t really have many issues in that department at the time. As you get older, you discover that your body just isn’t what it used to be and it is much easier to gain weight. But even so, if I were to take off my shit tinted glasses, I bet you anything that I don’t really look any bigger than I was a couple of years ago. But because I don’t have a perfect booty with a cinched in waist, I am genuinely guilty of often lowering my own self esteem by making me feel bad about myself and the way I look. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a bum like Chyna or Kim. That is way too much ass for me personally. However if I could get a body like Teyana Taylor, I think I could honestly die feeling as if my life was almost complete. I’m just saying, her body looks banging. Iman is a very lucky man.
Anyway, my point is, social media has indeed taken over. Not only does it have the power to make beautiful, confident women feel like they aren’t shit after flicking through their feed for two minutes, it also does a great job of making others oblivious of anything that is occurring unless it is on their iPhone screen. Certain people even feel incomplete if they don’t have a certain amount of followers on Instagram or Twitter. Like really? When did such small things becomes so important? If I didn’t need social media in order to promote my writing, I genuinely wouldn’t give a fuck about how many followers I have. As it happens, this is definitely something that needs to be worked on. I have less than a hundred followers on Twitter…so yeah, any tips or advice on that would be much appreciated. But as I said, it’s only an issue for me because I need it for professional purposes. Social media also tends to negatively affect people’s mindset in terms of where they are in life. When you see tons of Instagram feeds with people driving nice cars, women rocking Louboutins and Louis handbags, of course you feel a surge of longing for that to be you. Then when you realise it isn’t, the bitter disappointment and slight depression takes over. I personally just feel motivated and hope that will be me one day, once my writing takes off. But as I’ve written previously, when trying to embark on a new career and finding confusion down every new path, it can be very easy to be in your feelings and start to wonder whether that will ever happen.
Social media: it’s certainly a very powerful tool. But like most things, it can be a blessing and a curse. It can be incredibly useful when promoting a business or brand, or really anything at all. But it can also burn you. I’m sure several celebrities will tell you that they regret a lot of things they have posted or tweeted in the past. But unfortunately once it’s on the internet, there is no going back. The lengths that people will go to just to be famous in the realm of social media is getting disturbingly desperate. A lot of youngsters seem to be incapable of feeling any emotion, as being glued to their tiny screens all day seems to have drained it all out of them. Most people are incapable of going out and doing anything without posting on Instagram or Snapchat. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “If it wasn’t on Instagram, did it really happen?” And finally, the way a lot of well known or popular females are portrayed can inadvertently leave other onlooking women feeling insecure or inadequate if they don’t look exactly like them, despite the fact that most of them don’t even really look like that without “assistance”. So in short, it has taken over but we as a society need to gain some perspective and remember that we are all people as well, not just characters on an Instagram story. I just hope that at some point the majority of us can find a balance, so that we can take advantage of the many benefits that social media has to offer, as opposed to gradually letting it destroy us.