by Tienlyn Jacobson


LifestyleTienlyn JacobsonComment

I wanted to take a moment to address what I posted on Instagram yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, you can see it HERE.

I won’t reiterate what I wrote, as you can already read it, but one thing that really struck me as I read through the comments, is how many people commended me for what I said. I had three simultaneous reactions. The first was one of warmth and love towards those who left comments, voicing their solidarity in what I was saying. It felt really good to talk about a real, serious issue with so many that I have really only connected with on a more fun or frivolous level until now. It was inspiring and it helped me feel a glimmer of hope for humanity. Behind so many beautifully curated accounts are real people with real thoughts who care about what the hell is going on. The second reaction I had, however, was why am I being commended for speaking about violence against black people? Isn’t that our duty as fellow humans, regardless of our ethnic or racial background? Innocent people being murdered in cold blood because of racial profiling/racism is an act against humanity. Black lives matter should be all of our cause. Fighting for those who do not have the privilege of feeling safe on a daily basis should be a fundamental human reaction.

Posting on Instagram about something as terrible as the execution of innocent black lives doesn’t deserve praise because what I did was bare minimum, if even that. It's easy to throw up a few thoughts and a hashtag. It doesn’t mean I’m an awesome person. What is means is that I am really, really sad. And that I am really, really angry. And instead of posting an #ootd or a photo of avocado toast and hashtagging #brunch, I wanted my main platform for expression to reflect what I was feeling. In the scheme of things, it's barely anything. But it was a way for me to add my voice and to share my true feelings, and this is the time where our voices really count. Which leads me to my third reaction, which really, is more of a question: why is it that so many of us on Instagram feel almost obligated to stay silent on certain things that we truly care about, just because it might mess up our feed, or not tie into our everyday content? Or because shock horror, we might lose a few followers?

Now, I know we all have our own ways of processing and I know we all use Instagram and other social platforms for different things. And I also know that there are so many amazing, compassionate, and honorable people that may feel the same way, but did not post or speak up. And that’s OK - our journeys are all different and we each have our own way of reacting and communicating. The last thing I want to be is dogmatic about how a person should react because I know there are so many factors. But if so many of us have worked so so hard to create beautiful platforms where our voices can be heard by so many, isn’t there a way to use these voices for change that doesn’t take away from our aesthetic values or an optimistic approach to life?

I don’t totally know the answer myself, but I know it’s possible, and I’d like to find a way to do this more. I’m constantly coming across more women (and men) who are in the fashion, beauty, and blogging industries who aren’t afraid to hide their passion about fighting for equality, change, and justice. And I’m hoping to find more - not just because I’m looking for them, but because more of us are realizing that what we have all worked so hard to create can be used for far more than just a moment of beauty.