The pro-female advertising movement that has been attempting to empower us with ads like Pantene’s “Don’t Be Sorry, Be Strong and Shine,” Always’ “Run Like a Girl Campaign,” and Goldieblox’s “You are Beauty, and Beauty is Perfection,” got me thinking…(as did CNN Digital’s Kelly Wallace great piece on girl empowerment ads in which I was happily quoted.)
How do our gender roles play out when we ourselves control the medium – or the app as it may be? Is there any real stereotype to what girls tend to post on their social channels? And with that, what would it mean to “post like a girl”?
It seems that girls are biologically wired for social media. We are more expressive (just look at our frequent use of emoji’s J ) and willing to share and reveal more about our personal lives. But with our Instagram and Facebook addictions, are we posting images that portray us being less than empowered, or just too self-involved? (Note to self… maybe I shouldn’t I have posted that pic of me snuggling with my new puppy?)
Just as I was mulling this over, Natashe Hinde of the Huffington Post wrote a story exploring what guys think we pose like on Instagram. Natashe was inspired by a social experiment conducted by Witty + Pretty’s Ashley Hesseltine where she asked guys to replicate girls’ most common Instagram poses. The results: “The I’ve Just had a Pedi,” “Fashion Blogger” (#fblogger), “The #OOTD (outfit of the day), “The Gym Selfie,” and “The ‘Girls’ Night Out’ Shot.” The guys do look ridiculous. But, I guess that is the point.
So what would happen if Instagram copied the approach of Always’ “Run Like a Girl” campaign and ran a “Post Like a Girl” campaign? Would girls take note and think twice about what they post? I asked my 19-year-old “Digital Niece” Tali…
“I think the Huffington Post piece is pretty accurate,” she said. “If the idea of the campaign is that, upon viewing an ad/posts, girls will want to change how they ‘promote’ themselves then, I dunno… I think it’s tricky to come up with posts that people won’t judge for being narcissistic or bragging, but I guess by definition that’s what Instagram is founded on?”
My own “Digital Daughter” Amanda had this to say. “I think it would be a great idea for Instagram to run this campaign. It would make girls think again about posting that picture with their friends posing provocatively in a dressing room, or making their profile picture of them at the beach in a bikini. You can’t give everything away! To be proud of you body doesn’t mean that you flaunt every square inch of it. However, I think if this did become a campaign, girls would be briefly embarrassed, but probably go on posting the same things.”
How do you raise a digital daughter?
From the very unscientific questionnaires I have received from Our Digital Daughters, the majority chose Instagram as their favorite social channel. And, the frequency with which they post “selfies” varied from 1-5 per week, to “So many times a week, I can’t even count!”
Posting on social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Google+ or Snapchat is a fun and convenient way to use pictures to tell our stories. However, I think this idiom comes in handy: “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” (be they TOMS, flip flops, or Manolo Blahniks). Ask your daughter (and yourself) to think twice before she posts, and advise her to ask herself, “If I saw that post from a friend or acquaintance, would I cringe and think, “Get a life!”?
Here is an acronym I came up with that might help – P.L.E.A.S.Z.
Private…certain photos should be kept private (#sexts)
Limit…the cutesy stuff (#mypet and #babypic)
Easy…on the selfies
Alienating…friends is always bad – no potshots!
Showy…don’t be braggy (#shoppingspree!)
Zero tolerance…drugs and alcohol is a big NO
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about a potential “Post Like a Girl” campaign – Would it get us thinking? Be empowering? Instagram pics welcome.