That question isn’t meant to be facetious or clickbait but rather an introduction to something we have been debating for the past few days.
Now I know what ya’ll are thinking – here we go!
But hear me out!
I think we are all mature enough to have a real discussion about real-life triggers that cause emotional discomfort on social media.
On Instagram, we posted a video/picture series featuring the natural hair blogger and influencer @indigenous_strands.
If you have followed her for a while you may have noticed that she has knee-length natural hair.
This is the post:
View this post on Instagram
The messaging in the post sparked a pretty healthy conversation that made us think about some of the things posted on social media.
Some posts may trigger negative reactions versus a positive one even when the intention of the post was meant to be positive.
In that post, we were trying to discredit the myth we often hear that “black hair doesn’t grow”.
We *thought* the post could be used as encouragement for those women who are trying to grow out their strands as well and who genuinely believe it cannot happen for them.
However, not everyone saw it that way. We found this comment particularly interesting:
Her hair is beautiful but how does this help the overall narrative? We need to be happy with and bask in whatever hair or lack thereof is on our heads.
We need to stop addressing the whole “is that your real hair” or “black women can’t grow hair” topics. We need to start throwing up that middle finger when these topics are broached.
That’s our middle finger love! The way we bask in it can be a number of different ways .. sometimes addressing it is just us stroking our ego a lil bit. ❤️
To that our supporter said:
@emilycottontop I hear you and understand where you are coming from. What I’m positioning is that the captions for this post, and others like it, are the real problem.
The captions for this photo indicate that we are holding ourselves to the European standard that only long hair is beautiful.
In my opinion, captions like this cause triggers and jealousy for so many. I’m not suggesting that we don’t post photos like these or acknowledge the different ways that we are beautiful, I’m suggesting that we change how we discuss it.
Is she right? Should we change the way we discuss certain myths and do we truly believe that only long hair is beautiful when we post about women with long hair?
For me personally, I have to respectfully disagree.
We love a great cut, yall know that, and the way we discuss it should be head-on!
With that said we cannot deny that there are posts and captions on social media that cause “triggers and jealousy” specifically in the hair community.
What our supporter shared is a real thing!
We have seen posts from trained therapists who address the topic of social media envy and our triggered response to it.
The reason for a “triggered response” can be because of a few different things.
We are immediately compelled to make an excuse for the post because we have the same un-achieved goal
For instance, if you are on a similar hair growth journey – it isn’t a stretch to start comparing your success or lack thereof, to other women who are also on the same journey.
Some might respond by making an excuse for perceived success because we haven’t quite unlocked those results for ourselves. Oooooor we have not put in the same amount of time or work *sips tea*.
For example on the above post we received this gem:
You are mixed with something ??❤️‼️
(Classic, response! We could have predicted it!)
We are naturally competitive
According to a study carried out at the University of Copenhagen, we start to feel envious when we compare our everyday lives with other people’s highlight reel – which is all social media really is.
When you fall into the trap of comparing your private self with other people’s public personas, you are bound to feel inferior!
What if you did have knee-length natural hair? How would that fit your lifestyle? Is that really for you?
These questions never really come up the instant we see a post on social media! Our immediate reaction is almost always something that isn’t quite realistic.
We tend to overanalyze the highlight reel
The climate we are in lends itself to over-analysis because on one hand there are people you literally try to go viral from saying something ‘profound’.
And on the other hand, we tend to over-analyze our own shortcomings rather than enjoying the moment we are in which was the point our supporter made.
Our actions do not always line up with what we say
Let me give you an example of what we mean. As most of you know the natural hair community can be all over the map with stuff.
For us to have an effective publication we thrive on data and analysis, so here is one piece of analysis that has continued to baffle us.
The community says:
Yall never post 4C natural hair!
Increase posts about 4C hair – the result? – 30% fewer clicks in comparison to women with less kinky textures.
We are human! We hope that talking about what makes us jealous or envious without shame is a healthy way to start to remove the pain of those emotions.
[According to research published in the journal Science, envy and physical pain make use of the same regions in the brain.
We want to emphasize that our community is so special, we are so different, and our emotions run so deep. We all have different skin tones, different hair textures, different hair lengths, and different interests.
Once we start to appreciate our differences, we can start to unpack some of the emotions that may trigger a negative response to certain posts.
This isn’t an overnight process but more so a conscious effort that we are each individually responsible for.
The next time we post something that triggers you, let us know, lets talk about, or if you are still working on how to react, just scroll by and come back later.
Let’s continue the conversation below, what triggers you on social media? Are you jealous of long hair? Comment below!
BBC News: Facebook Lurking Makes You Feel Inferior
HuffPost: Jealous Of Friends? How To Put Your Envy To Good Use