SAHMs (Stay at Home Mothers) are bad influencers - they should try working for a living
PUBLISHED: 13:57 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:09 10 April 2019
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Rachel Moore is disgusted by the flurry of ‘influencers’ who spend their lives trying to get stuff for free without actually doing anything to deserve it...
Ligging, blagging and scrounging used to be activities to be embarrassed about; to do furtively, if you had the gall or inclination at all.
Now getting stuff for free and shouting about it is highly prized among the “influencers” of Instagram, an increasingly ghastly collection of narcissistically-inclined people, usually women, who pose daily in their OOTD (outfit of the day) to their tens of thousands of followers.
No one is embarrassed about grabbing stuff for free to give a “review”, in the loosest sense.
Instagram is slathered with women wearing or using “gifted” items. These are often the SAHM (stay at home mothers). Who can afford to do that in 2019 Britain? Especially in Sarf London?
Now it’s the Easter Holidays, these women are bemoaning the 24-7 responsibility of their children and what to do with them.
School holidays, they whine (if they’re not in Palm Springs, Bali, Florida or Australia with their families, locations of some of the women I follow.) “Bring wine,” they post, grumbling about separating their feuding children (obviously hoping for a crate of Chauteauneuf-du-Pape to follow). No more “me-time”, they bleat.
So entitled, they don’t see the irony that their entire life between term-time drop off and pick up is me-time or their privilege to have those children and not have to work to support the activities they moan about.
An even greater irony is that this Instagram ‘community’ purports to be supporting each other, inspiring women to find new confidence and their own style, in clothes and home, by posting photos of their lives.
As someone susceptible enough to be sucked in to nose at how other people live (I’m a journalist, what do you expect?), it’s as clear as these ladies’ professionally- exfoliated skin that their feeds pose as much harm to women in mid-life and even older as younger women’s posts of perfection do to the confidence, mental health and life satisfaction of girls and younger women.
These self-appointed ‘influencers’ – in this case women who appear to shop for a living, post their OOTD (outfit of the day) at breakfast time and then meet other “Instagram buddies” for try-on shopping trips and Prosecco-fuelled lunches – are perpetuating the myth of the ‘perfect life.’
Cynically, their constant bombarding of themselves in different outfits is purely aimed at winning freebies from companies who want the exposure of these women advertising their products on real people – although most of these women’s lives are far removed from most women’s lives.
In their ‘stories’, too many moan about their lives; they live in Homes and Garden-perfect homes, or are renovating some country pile, walking their designer dogs or dropping offspring off at various private schools across the country in their cashmere jumpers.
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I’ve yet to see any hint of acknowledgement that they are among a privileged few, whose lives are as far removed from real women as the Duchess of Cambridge.
Their stories could be spoofs but, sadly, these women posing in front of their designer high spec spotless kitchens take their roles seriously. They are blessed in their lives with everything apart from, apparently, self-awareness, humility and a social conscience.
Any feelings of inadequacy and desperation they might be reinforcing in the heads of real women, who are running two jobs as lone parents, worrying about energy bills, if sole-thin school shoes can last another term and skilled at making a chicken last all week, are clearly not appreciated.
Bodyguard actor Richard Madden this week talked about how the pressure to look good was as big on men as woman. Sorry, Richard, but it can’t be. Women are their own biggest critics with brittle self-confidence.
Instagram has shifted from a platform to share lovely photos to a boast-fest of women living in a parallel world. The insidious pressure to spend to have the latest, to look perfect and resort to ‘work.’ Yup, Botox, fillers and lifts are all discussed as being the norm as cleaning your teeth.
It’s too easy to say switch off and don’t look. A social media detox isn’t the answer.
Natural beauty products company Lush announced this week it was shutting down an Instagram account with 568,000 followers. Businesses are getting wise to begging. A beach club in the Philippines spoke for many when it posted it was not interested in collaborating with self-proclaimed “influencers”:
“And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink or sleep for free. Or try to actually work.”
This shopping for England constant round of consumption must be contributing to pushing women into debt.
They push fast fashion like drug pushers. We’re supposed to be buying less to save our planet, but these women are in the shops every day.
It’s not all bad. Style ideas are great for those of us who struggle to find the headspace to plan outfits.
The bloggers seeking only pre-loved items and looking fabulous by buying good-as-new items are inspirational, as are stylists showing three different styling ideas for one dress.
But increasingly Instagram is becoming an uncomfortable, unpleasant and unsisterly place, despite the avalanche of insincere saccharine “you look fabulous, hun,” responses to posts.
Anything that’s all about veneer and consumption, and less about empathy, kindness and understanding is not a healthy place to be’ it’s dysfunctional and needs help.