When Mean Girls premiered, I was Cady Heron’s age. I was navigating the minefield that was 11th grade my suburban New Jersey with my high school’s own band of Plastics.
I might not have gone to high school in the age of social media but the teenage tropes have a property that enables them to transcend all space and time. Don’t believe me? There’s an entire literary genre dedicated to this, it’s called YA. My insecurities, awkwardness, and angst weren’t unique – I just thought they were. Jealousy, unrequited young love, malaise and feeling uncool are rites of passage.
Insecurity is a funny thing because it’s something we’re assured by elder statesmen that is something we’ll grow out of with time. It’s definitely not a recurring issue you’ll wrestle with as a 30-year-old.
I authored a piece (now live – please go read it) that I’m particularly proud of, and I went a little native while conducting my research.
If you haven’t read it, I shared the stories of three Millennial entrepreneurs who are crushing their games. Due to a word limit and the limited attention span of the digital native, I only included three of the interviews I conducted. To provide a peek behind the curtain, I had no shortage of material. I had interviews with about a dozen or so sources who all shared their thoughts on social media and how it triggers anxiety, envy, and jealousy.
And those were just the formal interviews.
I have some incredible women in my tribe. They are my peers, my soul sisters and my lady loves. They are bosses, scholars and radiant goddesses of light. A few of them are priestesses of the highest degree – they are mommies. These women do not have a reason in this world or any other to feel insecure for a single moment but they do.
In separate conversations with my gal pals about my research on the anxieties conjured up by social media, they all agreed that social media is an absurdly strong magnet that pulls us in. But unlike a regular magnet, it makes us feel like trash about ourselves.
Occasionally, scrolling through social media transports me back to my early 2000s self. It leaves me feeling insecure, awkward and crappy. I don’t have the right wardrobe, dog (or any dog ☹), make-up, body or the disposable income that affords me preposterous vacations in every glamorous corner of the world. All of those things belong to the social media Plastics, and they seize every opportunity to remind me that it’s theirs and not mine.
Hold up – I thought all these feelings of self-doubt were supposed to vanish along with my teenage mood swings or on the day I got my braces removed?
I was inspired by my friends and by the people who were kind enough to allow me to interview them. I wrote the article to share their stories and to hopefully contribute to the rumblings of the tiny conversation starting to happen to discuss the B side of social media.
Raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by
Regina George social media. I’d love to hear from you in the comments!