Is It Picture Perfect (Do It For The Likes)

With the endless advancements in technology and social networking it’s become easier to lose sight of our true identities. Social media allows its users to mask their insecurities and depression with the click of a button! However; while we are posting pictures for social validation, a piece of our self esteem is being uploaded and exposed to open criticism. For some folks relevance and purpose to society can truly become based on the number of followers, likes & re-post they receive. With each post to social media we become hyper detached from human interaction and immersed in digital criticisms.
Studies have shown that the rate of depression and anxiety have risen in the age of social media. This is 100% contradictory (give or take a few bitter scorn men/women post and subliminal) to what we’re bombarded with on a daily basis from our timelines. Its become a trend I like to call the “For The Likes” (FTL) competition. Now the competition is simple and we’ve all been a participant at one point whether you want to admit it or not. I thought it’d be fun to examine some of the top ten categories of #FTL posts and explain my logic for this designation, so here we go:

10- The “exotic meal or just a meal that most do not usually indulge in” post.

Okay here’s the caveat, maybe these folks are genuinely trying to put their followers up on game for a surprisingly good meal OR just intending to diminish the domesticated image of themselves and build up this culturally refined image through #foodporn. Do not worry we are not judging we just admire your indulgence in the finest cuisine 😉

9- The vacation post or I’m going out of town post.
Simply a post to brag Im here and your not… It is almost a way to either let people know that you are always on the scene or enjoying an experience that most do not have the opportunity of enjoying. You mad or #Nah?

8- The transformation
From transformation Tuesday to throwback Thursday and even on occasions flashback Fridays, these post are usually very revealing or highlighting a personal journey that someone has gone through (most likely some weight loss or ugly duckling to bad bish). We believe that this post is the hardest post to decipher because some of you share great testimonials that can truly serve as inspiration, but then you have the “flaunters”. Y U No Humble?

7. I’m going to the gym
Just like the transformation post the gym post can be very hard to tell if its #FTL or if you’re really putting in work. However for most health crazed freaks progress is supposed to be noticed not displayed.. So all of you with the “I’m in the gym” post but still look the same, you’re clearly not NOT doing it for the likes.

6. Fashion post
ANNOYING. This post sometimes truly shows how people are being trendy and not really embodying the actual culture of their dress. Hypebeast around the world please don’t take offense.

5. Social justice frenzied topics
This by far is the most painful post. This usually happens with sensationalized deaths or socials injustices causing the masses to briefly go into a frenzy and taking their support to social media. Now nothing is wrong with this tactic but sometimes its hard to asses how genuine folks are and how committed to making change they are instead of attempting to appear socially aware. More over if this the call to action transcended into physically standing up for social injustices, It would be the 1960’s over again (sit in’s, protests, marches etc). Action speaks much louder than 140 characters ever will.

4. Posting of babies or baby pictures
Pardon my masculinity for a second but can we say adorable. Now there’s two kinds of baby posters (those by the child’s parents and the look at me with someone else’s child posters) Both of these post lend to the idea that hey I’m “ready for” or “great” with children, I’m such a catch! Parents we know that you are enjoying your children but posting pictures won’t get you kudos around here. For everyone else put that child who doesn’t belong to you down and get that phone out of their face, replace it with a book or a leap frog.

3. Thinking of him/her pics
This post is the only post that you will never actually see a physical person but just know her/him post are knee jerk reactions that are in direct correlation with those of you who are posting your relationships on social media. When you’re in a relationship all your single friends are having fun but, when you’re single multiply that previous feeling times 10 especially on those solo dolo nights. Sometimes the feeling is so intense that a phantom him is created in the hopes of getting the attention of someone else. In other instance a him/her really exist and it is imperative to let your followers know you’re thinking of them…. instead of using the same device you posted with to text them. OH

2. Inspirational Quote or song
These post certify that most people of social media world are either certified counselors or really going through it in life. Either way inspirational quotes that are not clichés are usually pretty dope. Affirmations and positive thinking is important for anyone who is either going through a hard time or making that transformation to a better person. It is amazing what a minor changes and positivity in your life can do for your mind body and spirit. However, when your routine selfie has nothing to do with the content of your quote you my friend are inspirational-ly doing it “FOR THE LIKES”.

1. THE Sexually Provocative Post
Originally known as a “Thirst Trap” (the act of setting a trap for an individual to comment or like a sexually enticing photo or quote) These post take the cake literally, when it comes to doing it #FTL. If you go on the various social media outlets you will see that there is an overwhelming amount of post with women either twerking or strategically displaying their best assets in order to catch the eye of the people who do not necessarily respect you. Realistically, what are you really trying to accomplish when you upload yourself to the world in such capacity. What can you possibly gain, an ig modeling contract? Ladies you are not the only ones who are guilty of thirst trapping men do it as well it just society tends to overlook it more than men (yes unfair) we know we’re equal opportunist here though so *Drops a judgmental glance* .

Let us know if we missed out on any other “For the Likes” post you’ve seen on your social networks.
Stay tuned for what we’ve got brewing we’ll drop and in case you don’t we’ll drop an #FTL to remind you! #AreYouVSOP

Your Expectations Do Not Necessitate My Compliance

Gender based social expectations are a funny thing, inasmuch as they reveal a lot about the people who defend and perpetuate them. Growing up in a traditional Christian and West Indian home, I’ve become all too familiar with gender expectations. As a teenager, I grew up resenting the idea of me having to learn how to cook and clean, not because I was lazy or incapable of doing those things, but because of the reasons people offered to convince me I needed to learn to do them. In high school I barely understood what it meant to be a feminist or a womanist, but deep down inside I always felt a disconnect and a slight rebellion to the gender traditions of which my family and church continue to hold on. My argument has always been to teach me how to function, and survive as a woman who needs to learn to take care of herself first. I was never interested in anyone teaching me to cook and properly clean, simply because one day I was to become some man’s wife. Because first of all, where is he? Last time I checked I’m still single (and have been for quite some time now), so why was I being burdened with the responsibility of learning to care for a man during my adolescence, when at 23 he is still no where to be found? I’m not sure if my mother and aunts constantly telling me, “cooking and cleaning will keep a man.” was supposed to be some sort of incentive for me to learn, but at sixteen that intangible prize of a future husband did not suffice. To this very day I resent the idea of me being nurtured into a role I’m not even 100% sure I will be privileged enough to have. While I do hope and pray to become a loving, nurturing, responsible wife and mother some day; I refuse to make day to day decisions constantly contemplating an unseen man and my unborn child(ren). I am single, and childless and I believe that now is the appropriate time for me to enjoy learning, living, and doing just for me (and God of course).

Despite my frustrations with, and resentment for these gender expectations; I must admit that I often times find it hard to completely dismiss them. It’s as if the more I resist these expectations, the more people reinforce them to me, and attempt to force them on me. However, if I try hard enough to forget the literature I read, dismiss my formal education, and force myself into humility; I am able to conform to these roles (tis a very tedious task). During these humble moments I often think of the disconnect between my generation of women, and those of previous generations, who tend to naturally assume roles and feed into the expectations that my generation has become more and more courageous to question, and even bold enough to resist. In these moments of contemplation, I also find myself frightened by the many assumptions people make about my future because of my gender. Recently, a woman who use to take care of me as a child called to congratulate me for completing undergrad. She took me for a long, slow stroll down memory lane, then eventually told me how proud of me she was. She then went on to make the request for me to continue to hold my head high and make her proud so that, (wait for it…) the next time she calls she will be able to receive even more great news- the announcement of my wedding. Unfortunately for very single me, more great news to her is not me receiving a MD, a Ph.D, Psy.D, JD, or MS, but my marriage certificate. When I scratch my head and screw my face at those types of comments, I wonder if I’m being irrational, and snobbish for taking offense. However, I highly doubt young men receive congratulatory calls from loved ones on their graduation day with mentions of marriage. In fact, they’re probably getting just the opposite, seeing as they’re young, educated men with a plethora of options that they’re naturally inclined to explore, right? Yet, my next pursuit should be to find a man, and get him to propose to me. (I don’t know what to do first, roll my eyes or clasp my hands and beg God to send me my man ASAP.)

These gender expectations frustrate me, mainly because they make it difficult to want the things you want, when and how you actually want them. Yes, I want to learn to make gourmet meals, but I want to learn so I can have fancy dinner parties with my girlfriends and colleagues, and to be able to contribute something tasty to the office pot-luck. Do I want to learn how to properly do laundry? Why of course! So that I can preserve the brightness of my colors, and not shrink my favorite maxi-dress. And yes, I definitely want to get married, but not because it’s on the checklist of things I must do before I turn 30, and especially not right after undergrad. I really would love for people to realize that just because they expect me to want something, doesn’t mean I’m obligated to want it when they expect me to, how they expect me to, or any at all for that matter. I am an individual who has set expectations for myself, which were framed with MY benefit in mind. I’m still learning myself, my wants, my needs, and MY expectations for myself, and for those I allow into my life. I don’t need, nor do I want to be burdened with the expectations tradition has picked out for me, but don’t always quite seem to fit my current ideals. As a woman I would appreciate people appreciating me and what I want, above the roles they see fit for me. Yes, I am a woman, but that identity means way more to me than what others expect it to mean. Call me crazy, but I’d like to believe that I define my womanhood, and I refuse to allow its social connotations to define me.

By: A. Wisdom

Originally published on: UrbanCusp.com

Its All About Timing

When will I have kids?

What is the quickest way I can make six figures?

Is attaining an advanced education really worth it?

Questions like these invade young professionals minds everyday. An old Chinese proverb states “It takes one [full] year for a tree to start growing; it takes ten years for a person to start growing”. So why are we as young professionals so impatient? Why are we so hard on ourselves to the point that we cannot realize that we are causing our own demise? I believe in some cases we even self-inflict stress and cause depression within ourselves on our quest to meet self-made standards. I know the idea of being complacent and stagnant is scarier than a small child’s first trip to the dentist. However, these timelines we try to honor are usually unrealistic and not attainable even in the most idealistic scenarios. Even in knowing that these goals are unrealistic, we doubt ourselves when we do not attain these goals.

I pose this question: how realistic are your goals? As children we’re always taught to write out our dreams so we can know the direction that we plan to go in.  Most young professionals have created a list of things that they would like to accomplish before retirement and feel as if they fail if something is not accomplished. Seriously though, can we all just relax? If you were born from 1980 on down you are plagued with this misconception of instant gratification but, it is not our fault!! Our parents/mentors have instilled in us that the more focused you are, the faster you accomplish your goals. We also use our parents/mentor as barometers for life. We observe and critique their mistakes while vowing to never to travel down the same paths. The main mistake of our parents/mentor we try not to repeat is attaining a degree at a non-traditional age. For the people whose parents went to school on the weekends, nights or any other weird schedule; you know what I mean. We lost precious moments with our parent(s). Moments to smile, argue, grow and sympathize. All in the name of advancement and accomplishment; however was it really worth it?

Now in light of our parent’s mistakes we sacrifice our present for the hopes of our future. In the pursuit of attaining our education we lose some of the intangible things that our parents were able to gain during their younger years. Things such as: a social life, job experience and a sense of direction. It seems as if the more degrees we attain the more we realize what we do not want to do. In pursuing our education right away we are supposed to be preventing the mistakes our parents made and walk in this clear direction to a happier life. However, it feels as if we are walking in the foggy mist that only allows us to see as far as the tip of our fingers, with hopes it will become clearer with each step we take.

In the end, we turn out to be just like our parents. Only difference is they risked their future to fix their present and we risk our present with hopes of molding our future. We can prepare but not foretell, which only makes life that much easier to live… So to my fellow people lost in the mist just take one step at a time and remember “a thousand mile jounery starts right under your feet”.

Stay VSOP!!