Behind the Scenes: Women of colour use social media to empower each other
I’m more than a little obsessed.
I’m…I’m a little bit in love, is that ok? By Kiesha Meikle
My latest indulgence:
Yes, Instagram has become my go-to for all that is beautiful about brown skin.
My feed is one long scroll of black women living their best lives. Most of the pictures are heavily edited and staged – but, so what? If I wanted reality I would go down to my local highstreet and people watch. The hundreds of images of glossy afro hair, brown shiny legs and fashion on the bodies of the GODDESSES I follow…Well, they wake me up in the morning and give me that extra sway in my hips as I go about my day.
Fellow black women: Do you remember when you had to buy a magazine for that? When you had to go to your local store and you had the choice of 3 magazines that would come out one or twice a month?
This is new for me. I used to hate Instagram. Too many people taking photos of themselves for the adoration of strangers. I found it to be narcissistic and fake. Now, I use it as a source of inspiration. It is after all one of the only places I can see an unlimited supply of women who look even remotely like me – daily. And I mean a daily supply of new images from women who are just like me, and they are living and looking great. I let my daughter scroll too, she sees pictures of women of colour in exotic places with curls popping and melanin beaming under the sun. She smiles and says: “Pretty” I say: “Yes, just like you.”
Fellow black women: Do you remember when you had to buy a magazine for that? When you had to go to your local store and you had the choice of about 3 magazines that would come out one or twice a month?
Well, I do.
Youtube and Insta have changed the game, but don’t get me wrong this is not about them. It was never really the intention of those who built those platforms to empower women of colour. There was no board meeting to discuss the benefits to black women of seeing inspo shots prior to the launch of Instagram. It is US who have utilised these platforms to create a space of beauty and aspiration. We are creating content by ourselves, for ourselves…and it’s been a long time coming.
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” An excerpt from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. . . . . I read Walden in undergrad but never realized that the universe was trying to speak to me for so long. We have to create quiet moments everyday to tune into the universe or pray to your higher power, whether it is God, Allah, Jehovah, whomever, take the time to listen and visualize your dreams and then EXECUTE! || This feature in @forbes is the result of years of dreaming and trying to figure out my purpose in life. There are no overnight successes even though it may look like it. And no, I cannot give you my blueprint, we all have to create a blueprint for our own unique journeys and lives. I’m not doing this to encourage you to see the world, I am doing this to help you see that you can create a life that you want to live, not the life I created but one YOU create. Make YOUR life #goals. And always, always, DREAM BIGGER. || Thanks @taltywrites for another great article. Link in bio. #catchmein195
To the many creators and influencers out there, keep doing what you are doing. Ignore the trolls and post for women and girls like me and my daughter. For all the women who are ‘plus sized’, Size 0, have built amazing lives, who are travelling the world, building businesses, holding together families, living LGBTQ lives and sharing it all online for our consumption…black, brown, yellow, white whatever. Props to you.