Monday, October 28, 2013

Social Media: The Oppression Factor

I was recently discussing social media with my friend and told her “Man, social media can be one hella oppressive place”. And this is the truth. It’s like no matter how immune you feel to it all, there’s going to be something out there in the cyber world that will find your Achilles heel and feast on it. There’s always somebody out there who has what you want, or seems to be doing way better in life than you are doing.

After years of wondering how the hell Instagram (IG) worked, I finally joined it and gotta attest that those visuals alone can work their magic. Everything just looks so glossy and fancy, and everybody looks “rich as f***” (in the words of my favorite Uncle 2chainzzzz). I just be perusing sometimes and wondering “which levels na? When I go hammer reach?” However, the funny thing is that not everything posted on social media is supposed to be oppressive but somehow they get to you depending on whether it’s your thing or not.

A few examples…

  • That person that stays posting pictures of their countless vacations and trips. You name the place, and they've been there. And you’re feeling the oppression because to afford one solo vacation requires you to give up so much while for some others it seems like they have an unending supply of money, time, and resources.
  • That other person that posted pictures of plenty plenty high end shopping bags and gave a shoutout to their wonderful husband/boyfriend on some “Shout outs to my baby for spoiling me. Love you boo!” and you can’t help but dash one side eye to your hardworking husband/boo who works so hard to make you happy but somehow his level of hard work never reach Neiman Marcus and Saks. And even if designer names aren't your thing, it could be something else that you would love to have in your life but you and your man can’t afford it (e.g. Macbook, Ipad, BB10, Samsung S4 etc etc. Pick your poison and there’s a woman out there posting a picture of it and hailing her boo.
  • That person that keeps tensioning you with pictures of their weight loss journey. It seems like they step on a treadmill and instantly lose 10lbs. Meanwhile you are out here struggling to lose weight even though you’ve been eating right and working out for the past 2 months. See, things like this aren’t even supposed to be oppressive but I know that sometimes they are.
  • That other one that is always doing #Himship #Goinghometomyman #Mybabyboo up and down the place with plenty coupled up pictures to boot. You haven’t even had a negro say hi to you in the last 8 months, talk less of a man to go home to. O diro easy.

Let’s shift from IG real quick and enter Twitter and Facebook…
You’re seeing tweets and status updates like “God is Good! I passed my MCAT on the first try and I’m interviewing to get into *insert the medical school of your dreams*” and you’re wondering when this same good God is going to do it for you. You’ve taken the MCAT at least 2x now…


That husband that posts a picture of the brand new car that he just bought for his wife in honor of her giving him some bouncing baby boys and girls and you’re feeling that oppression because you and your spouse have been trying for children for God knows how many years.

I can go on and on but it’s so much stuff on social media that get to at least every one of us depending on the things in life that are doing you.

For some of us it’s marriage of course. Even for me who mainly doesn't feel the societal pressure of marriage, every single time that I log into that place called Facebook, the first things assailing my eyes are at least 3 people’s engagement photo shoots, traditional weddings, white weddings and all things weddings and I’m like “Whoa! Are there any single people left in this world?? Am I going to be the last woman standing in this single struggle?” I tire.

For some it’s career…folks be posting about working in places and fields that we would love to work in talking about “I love my job…so blessed.xx” and oppression sets in when you think about the million and one resumes that you've sent out and the million and one rejection letters/emails that you received. I remember when I was in college and wanted to work for PWC so badly (after they rejected my ass) and it used to pepper me when all the accounting kids in my school would update their professional networks on Facebook to PWC. It wasn’t a game yo.

For some it’s material goods. You’re looking at all the cars, gadgets, bags, shoes that your mates are enjoying and wondering when you will be able to afford to buy such fancy things without drinking garri for 2 months.

For some it’s the fertility issue. You really want kids and have been trying for ages, and everybody around you is sharing pictures or stories of their little ones. This is also not meant to be oppressive I'm sure but we are only human and I bet something like that would get to me every now and then if I was in that boat.

For others it’s just a person’s overall packaging. Some people just seem to have their lives so well put together. Great jobs, probably did something like buy a house when they were 25, if they are female they probably got married at 28, had their 2 kids by 31 and bounced back to size 4 frames in 5 seconds, seemingly great husbands, and a seemingly great life…and they are out there on your web feed of whatever your social media poison is, oppressing the heck out of little ol’ you who is trying to get a handle on something in your life.

E no easy my people.

What do you do? I have a friend who doesn't do Facebook or Instagram (very smart girl). I think that’s a definite start to curb the oppression in your life and learn to stay in your lane. But if you’re like me and you like to keep these forms of media open for small amebo purposes, the next best thing to do is to try and rein it in sometimes. You don’t gotta be on social media every single day. Sometimes a break is good from all the shenanigans, especially if you are down in the dumps and not feeling that great about yourself. The last thing that you want to see is somebody happily posting pictures or talking about something when you’re feeling some type of way about that particular something. My final word on this: In the words of my wise friend “Social media is filled with a lot of smoke and mirrors” aka things are not always what they seem. I remember a story about somebody who posted a picture of her brand new designer bag gifted to her by her “dearest husband” only for us to get behind the scenes of the story and find out that her so-called dearest husband had beaten her the week before and then bought her the bag to apologize for his behavior. Of course we saw a picture of the bag…a picture of the black eyes nko? Not so much. I’m sure somebody out there was feeling oppression on 3 levels: 1. Husband 2. Dear Husband 3. Expensive Bag. So just goes to show that while some people are truly living the life, not everybody is truly living the life so don’t be too quit to turn a bright shade of green when you read about or see how some people are doing it up.

And that my people, is all she said.

Have a great rest of the week.


ThatGirl said...

Gbam!!! Can't add or subtract from what you've said my dear Mgbeks. 2 posts in a month?! *applause* Biko, nne do this more often okay? 8)

Chichi Chb said...

gbamest...was on instagram for one week and then opted out, the mind games were too much. Some people can take it but i most certainly cannot

Berry Dakara said...


You speak da troof!

However, I have to say that it takes a strong person to see all the wonderfulness in seemingly every one else's life, and still thank God for what they have, without a twinge of envy.

People see my pictures and are all "Berry your life, so fun, so glam, so exciting, etc." And at the same time, I'm looking at others and asking God when my natural hair will reach armpit length, when I will be able to afford Louboutins, when I will get that dream job that allows me to travel first class (okay, let's start with business class) and stay in 7-star hotels (BIG DREAMS REPORTING FOR DUTY), when I will lose 50lbs without sweating... and the list goes on.

But we have to shut out the "oppression" and just be happy for our friends, and be content with what we have but hungry to work harder for what we want.

If your friend wasn't carrying that Birkin bag, would you even be thinking about it? No. So you don't want it. We have to filter what we see out there and hone in on what we do want.

Third World Profashional said...

Couldn't have said it better myself nne. The tension on social networks is too real...especially the marriage issue *whew*, Bella Naija and Aisle Perfect won't kill person.

As for the glittery lifestyle, trust and believe that it's at least 80% wash. People are doing the most ridiculous things to have a semblance of a luxurious lifestyle.

Living in Lagos, amebo reaches you whether or not you want to, so the truth behind many a Birkin or dream husband is out there for you to call on and hold on to when you feel like your life is shittier than everyone elses.

But people focus on the most ridiculous thing sto be envious of though. Something as silly as attending events is a source of jealousy. I don't know why some people attend so many events but mine is over half of the time because of work. So when I hear people say "oh you have this glamorous lifestyle, you get to go here and there", I'm just like you have no idea how much I'd rather be home in bed with Phillipa Gregory on the Kindle. Bearing in mind I alrady have a very stressful 9-5 job besides my fashion writing commitments.

The right attitude is as you said log off sometimes, twitter or instagram doesn't have to be the first thing you hit when you wake up.

A few days away from social media can do a world of good. When you come back however its back to tensioning but a least you had a few days of peace of mind to savour.

Nutty J. said...

wow!! so am not the only one who feels oppressed by the social media? And here I was feeling depressed after every other visit to Good to know the oppression goes round....yaaaaay!!!

Unknown said...

So true mehn especially instagram AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH

Tomi Makanjuola said...

More reason why I'm staying off instagram until further notice lol. It's not even the oppression issue - it just seems so time-consuming!

Hephzibah Frances said...

Spot on!
I do get these feelings,sometimes,maybe most times,I'v just learnt to rein myself in and remember dat all is not all it seems 2be most times and even if it is,I'll be happy for u,go on my merry way and focus on myslf.
Its not easy 2do but I mk it a conscious attitude whenever I am online.
Thanks again 4dis.btw Berry's comment is just on point.true true!

Taynement said...

Ah especially living in this thirst generation where no journey or movement is complete without the validation of strangers. Social media has its good and bad.

NaijaNinja said...

As an occassional flexer and frequent observer, I will tell you that all na packaging.
Still, it doesn't stop one from drooling and hoping life could be that awesome. I've seen some things online that made a ninja want to move bricks...but I am saved.

Lohi said...

Smokes and Mirrors...its mostly smokes and mirrors. As someone who has to be on social media often because of what I do, It takes God's grace sometimes to still be thankful for my own situation. Like I always say someone is wishing they are in my shoes.

Toinlicious said...

And all she said is all that needs to be said.

I hardly do facebook and i refuse to get on IG. I can not be tensioning myself like that. No way jose

Gee said...

As easy as it is to hop on every social media out there, one has to really "know" themselves and be aware of the pressures that could come with it. I always say, social media is not for the little children o. Some level of maturity gast dey to be okay in this cyber world.

neuyogi said...

Man all these years on blogville and your posts are always on point, refreshing and relevant. These past couple of days i will confess i have felt all sorts of usual tonic of rejoicing for others wasn't quite working. I do know at these moments to take a break from it...but yeah amebo draws me back sooner than i want :)

Fluffycutething said...

i loooooovvvvveeee the post!!!! Too amused to even comment :D

Ginger said...

You aint lying Nwanne. Depending on your emotional status, somethings on social media can hit you below the belt. Deep inside you are happy for the friend but you might wonder 'why am i not blessed thus'.
I solved my problem by visiting FB on a needs-to basis. thank you very much. As for IG, what's that? lol.

I've been much more content and thankful since I excised fb from my life.

Sugabelly said...

There are some days I can't open Instagram because I don't have the courage. Walahi.

All these glamourous people posing up and down and me all my own is just suffering suffering suffering.

Don't worry sha, I'm planning for the day I will unleash on Instagram and oppress you all!

Anonymous said...

Nice Anon: Being confident and sure of oneself has never been more difficult in this generation. Most of the time na to jump am pass and face your front. Be content with whatever it is you have. Package yourself well. LOL!

You be knowing!!

Yevandy said...

Mhen.. So on point.
Social media can make your life look like a pot of beans in comparism to theirs..
Constant reminders like this, very very necessary

Colored Misfit Girl said...

I totally agree that people use social media to make themselves feel better which then can become oppressive for outsiders looking in, which then makes people in general have lower self esteems and depression, which then makes them feel the need to use social media to make themselves feel better. And the cycle continues.

Crazy I have a post I started writing about this similar thing. Like you said it's trying to figure out how to 'rein' it in especially if we feel it is causing us harm.


I don't do FB, IG, Twitter.
i only use tumbler.
Those things can make someone kill themselves.
I travel all the time, but after the trip i am usually broke and end up eating almonds for the entire month or two.
I can't be saving money when i don't know if tomorrow will come!

mizchif said...

Ah, social media.

Personally i'm too much of an amebo to stay away. I'm also more of the siddon look type.

And truth is like Lohi said, a lot of it is smoke and mirrors, plus i may not be willing to pay the type of price some of them be paying anyway, so i just face my front and manage mysef and pray and wish that one day one day, one day e go beta.

But i also refuse to subject myself to certain levels of tensioning therefore i don't follow ANY wedding accounts. Just natural hair and fitness and fashion bloggers. That one do me.

Unknown said...

the saying that came to my mind when i read this post is "all that glitters is not gold." it is so true. Funny post though.

Unknown said...

We all know that social media agencies are the 'present' & 'future' of the marketing brands. If a brand wants to mark a milestone with his competitors as well as customers, they will have or forced to choose the services of the Social Media Agencies or by any skilled executives.

Beulah! said...

Shei!, that last paragraph finished me..heheeee.... I totally agree with you. No one has it all together and it seems to me that it's people with comma in their lives that often times act like everything around them shimmers but all na wash.

As my sista talk am, make i stay my lane, life is not a dash, its not a competition, we'd all get there somehow by God's grace

Anne said...

so trueeeee


Devil's Spawn said...

Lol! you definitely speak the truth. If you are the kind of person that allows what other people do affect you then you can be oppressed. Otherwise you can just do amebo and move on. I have vowed never to be a "twitterer" and instagram will never be my portion as I never take pictures.

Chinazar said...

This is funny, even more so because some of the people who intimidate us are here also seriously putting mouth in the matter.
PWC recently rejected my ass. Despite all the pressure of social media, I'm not thinking of suicide, and once in a while I remember that there is someone out there who would gladly give more than an arm to have half of what I have.

Whitehat Inbound said...

Sometimes, it’s hard to keep ourselves from comparing what we see from the other user’s timeline, especially to those who achieved more than what we have. However, instead of drowning in envy, it’s much better to take it as an inspiration to reach your goals.

Clwyd Probert

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Musingsofjudgejudyjudy..... said...

Me I've been on your blog since Sunday- backtracked to your very first post in, was it 2007 abi 2008.
It is well o.
So pleased you are still blogging. Blogs like yours should never go extinct.
Please be more consistent I beg.
God bless.