The enlightening power of bitchcraft, a queen of hearts on Instagram.
“I love you, darling. I love you right back, babe, Liebes, querida, chérie.”
We ladies are nice to our life style sisters on Instagram. It’s a love fest, not like on Facebook where posts can grow into a stink party. On IG we support each other, and many of us mean it. I made more friends here than in the last two decades of “real” life.
But hearty emojis also have a dark side. We forgive substandard photography, uninspired outfits, endless variations of the same and a voluminous variety of ego trips. We pretend not to know that X is a right-winger and avoid politics or the shit in our lives like the devils they are.
We try to be so nice that we are not supportive at all. Not telling women what we really see and feel is like complimenting them for slapping the water in the ocean while knowing that they can’t swim.
We likey. We don’t want more of it, but we fake it and not just from the goodness of our hearts; we aim for applause and more followers. We want advertisers’ interests. I tell ageless rebel stories about raw and real, but found myself slip-sliding into sugar crusted agreements; guilty of not stepping up to my truth. Constructive criticism requires loving attention. Well-meaning, carefully chosen words demand effort. Who has enough time?
There’s oblivion when everybody has the same goal of increasing followers. Some justify their fake with their need for applause. Others want to be real but don’t know how. “The world needs therapy,” we sigh. Bitching becomes a relief for feeling powerless as much as responding to our envy. That our cooking, coaching, artistic and styling talents or philosophical heights are not as highly praised as badly lit outfits in bedroom mirrors can be frustrating.
We officially like and unofficially bitch.
The Pandemic hit. BLM hit. Fear and loathing rattled the rows of pretty.
To discuss the important questions of life was never the aim of Instagram, but ignoring them in our sugar rush means that our teeth will fall out and then it’s too late. Pity parties in the realm of uninspired blah or glam obsessions have to stop if we want the human race to evolve and not fall deeper into dystopia.
A wave of change made white women share their space with women of color and fashionistas shopped second hand or in their wardrobe. Spirited rebels call to boycott destructive brands and point to those supporting women’s rights and fight for the environment. Influencers share their sorrows, and even political opinions sprinkle pastel pictures. Many though continue their sales and admiration grabbing theater. Despite my disappointment I stayed, cherishing the connection to several hundred amazing women and a couple cool men of my community. For the other 13,400 followers my stories about fashion for empowered equality would do their thing eventually. I kept liking, eyes closed.
“If she shows me her perfectly polished sexy curves one more time…”
A can of giggles was opened. My fashion friends who met on Zoom to strategize IG in the past pandemic world, chimed in, bitching about endlessly plunging necklines, obsessive sales divas, t-shirt ruts and the fear of politics. Vote? For whom? We laughed, but it was a different shade of bitchery. It was fed by sadness. The distress that even a Pandemic, painful inequality and the threats of global warming didn’t shake many people’s mindsets couldn’t be bitched away. “Me, me, me” was so damn wrong right now.
The next morning I posted a Bohemian picture in which I swung the skirt of a gorgeous dress with a kick of my 60 plus-year-old hips. I like to inspire fearless agelessness with fierce ageless rebel moves.
“She’s desperately trying to look like 21.” “I don’t like her, she’s much too sexualized.” “What’s with that rebel talk? Grow up.” “That smile is so fake.” “She doesn’t even have a Gucci belt.”
I had stepped into the real and imagined bitching world of others, reminded that, when we talk behind the people’s backs, they surely do the same to us. My attempt to be inspiring was probably as much hated as it was loved.
I went out to take a picture in a harem pants jumpsuit. I tried not to smile. I hated my happy. I held on to myself not to wiggle my hips. I took stiff pictures not to step onto women’s Edelmans. Was my smiling confidence fake? Was promoting self-love just a trick of my ego to peacock myself? Should I leave IG for good?
I passed a tiny library, walking my dog. A big coloring book smiled like a siren. I flicked through Alice in Wonderland, a story I had always rejected to read. Styling a modern version of the queen of hearts would be fun; the Universe responded to continue my fashion stories.
Alas, underneath her red-heart-adorned dress the queen was the biggest bitch of all, a diva who slashed what was too much for her. “Off with their heads.”
C’mon, I wasn’t that upset?
Drawn into a rare political IG thread where Trump lovers and haters despised each other, I had actually felt compassion, not my mean fighting spirit. There is so much more to us than opinions.
Let’s use the bitch for good.
Bitchcraft’s enlightening powers
- We look into the mirror of our bitching, what is hidden in what we dislike? What we complain about often is triggered by what we hate or fear in ourselves.
- We put on bitchy readers and find our own ego trips, vanity, greed, preaching or fake smiles. What do we see in our galleries through other women’s eyes?
- We change intentions, we switch the editor of our posts from pleasing everybody to supporting the world with our truth. Even when IG is our tool to sell something; products or ourselves, our values have to become the measuring stick for every post.
- We don’t bitch behind backs anymore; we step up front instead. Likes or follows out of pity, duty and our success agendas cement the status quo. To help a person get better, get up, see more, love more; to enhance the best in them means to let them see what hinders them to grow. We take the risk of real; in our posts as much as in our comments. Social media serves us to be seen, but is also asking to act on what we see.
- We help the bitched-about by not fake-like for self serving purposes. We might even care with a constructive comment or DM.
- When we boycott big bad businesses we extend it to those followers who promote them; if they love Monsanto, promote fur, fast fashion or junk food we don’t “like” it. We asked them why.
We’re not a pack of playing cards; we can transform our dislikes into self-awareness and Instagram into a true queendom of hearts. In a time where freedom is threatened at every corner exercising our fierce voice is essential.
So bitch away and let your nasty teach you; that’s bitchcraft at its best.