It is my hope that the reader was negatively provoked by the title of my blog- for the notion of curating oneself is, in my mind, a disturbing thought.
A blog post on Sunday reminded of the implicit and explicit pressures that urge students to curate themselves to be seen as perfect ‘products’ rather than to feel comfortable and confident to be themselves.
In this blog post entitled Social Media Is a Symptom, Not a Tactic, American author, former business executive and marketing man Seth Godin, reminds the reader that, “If you spend all your time beginning at the end, grooming your social network, tweezing your Insta posts, hyping your tweets–nothing much is going to happen.” This focus on creating the perfect picture, highlighting only the wonderful things that are happening, and building a persona one feels they ‘should’ have is increasingly at the cost of investing energy into developing skills, authentic relationships, and self-confidence.
Several years ago, St. Clement’s hosted Rachel Simmons as one of our LINCWell Speakers. Rachel spoke to students and parents about why being a ‘good girl’ can be bad. Rachel encouraged the girls to trust the importance of an internal resume- the one that comes as a result of life experience, stumbles and challenges, the one that results in girls and women with confidence, strength and resilience. This, she explained, was more authentic and significant than a curated external resume of things that one ‘should’ be.
As I read Godin’s blog, I was reminded of Simmon’s findings in her new book Enough As She Is. As is written in the overview of this book, “Rachel warns that we have raised a generation of young woman so focused on achieving that they avoid healthy risks, overthink setbacks, and suffer from imposter syndrome, believing they are frauds. As they spend more time projecting an image of effortless perfection on social media, these girls are prone to withdraw from the essential relationships that offer solace and support and bolster self-esteem.”
With the presence of social media being here to stay, it is our responsibility to ensure that we- as parents and School- are educating our girls about their value and worth, while encouraging face-to-face interactions and relationships. We must provide our girls with time and support as they get to know themselves for who they are: wonderfully unique young women who are learning and growing, and who are ‘enough as they are.’