If you were one of those kids who answered “An astronaut!” when asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, I have a surprise for you.
Well, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has a surprise for you.
The first civilian mission to the moon is “scheduled” for 2023. He’s going, but he’s also looking for company, specifically for 8 other people to join the journey as crew members. For free! You have until March 14 to register.
A model and the world’s youngest astronaut walk into a bar
Speaking of astronauts, a week ago, worthfeed, an account with 228,000 followers, and this text on their bio “🌱 Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind Always. 🌱” published the photo below.
Here’s the caption they used:
“A few days ago, a photograph of American model Kendall Jenner in a swimsuit went viral, showing what for many is the perfect body in a woman. On the right, a photograph of Alyssa Carson, the 19-year-old astronaut who became the youngest person in history to overcome all NASA’s aerospace tests.
You can probably work which of the two is most well known and globally admired, yet this situation shows us the disproportionate value that society gives to exaggerated beauty stereotypes. While many women struggle every day to belong in historically male-dominated positions and trades, society continues to reward vanity and beauty over real skills and intellect.
I’m the first person to appreciate the female form but if we, are to place this asthenic above incredibly talented, dedicated and skilled individuals like Alyssa Carson I feel It would not only be ignorant but extremely detrimental to the evaluation and progress of the human race.”
Let’s debunk their statement just a little bit before I lose my mind.
With more than 1 million likes and 8,000 comments, this is their most “viral” photo on their account, while their other posts have anything from 70,000 to 1500 likes.
They say that “a photograph of American model Kendall Jenner in a swimsuit went viral, showing what for many is the perfect body in a woman.”
As someone who is very active on social media, I hadn’t seen this photo of Jenner prior to this post.
Granted, I have most of the Kardashians-Jenners blocked because they understand marketing and how to remain relevant to the public, and I simply do not wish to subject my willpower to their games.
But despite having them blocked, I probably would’ve still seen it. Maybe not on Instagram where I have these people blocked, but on Twitter, either as a genuine appreciation of “what for many is the perfect body in a woman” or at least as a meme by all the incredibly funny people that reside on Twitter.
Beyond Twitter, I certainly would’ve seen something about this viral picture on The Cut’s newsletter, to which I’m subscribed. In their words, they cover “Fashion, Beauty, Politics, Sex and Celebrity.”
In my words, they’re where I get most of my celebrity information from (besides Twitter memes). From The Cut’s newsletter, I found out:
- Audrey Gelman Is Stepping Down As CEO of The Wing. I read the full thing despite having 0 familiarity with The Wing. Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot about how toxic the whole GIRLBOSS culture is and specifically how much of a POS Sophia Amoruso is, I’d just missed The Wing somehow.
- model Emily Ratajkowski was assaulted and how she felt about many things beyond her image Buying Myself Back When does a model own her own image?
- Remember the Bernie Sanders inauguration meme? Thousands of people reached out to the woman who’d made the mittens, prompting her to tell people to stop. Please Stop Contacting the Woman Who Made Bernie’s Mittens.
It’s how I heard Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were breaking up, and many other bits of information that serve little to no purpose to me whatsoever.
But I didn’t hear about this so-called viral image.
Maybe The Cut editors mentioned “the photograph of American model Kendall Jenner in a swimsuit went viral, showing what for many is the perfect body in a woman” in an email I deleted without even reading, like I often do when I feel overwhelmed cognitively.
When I searched “viral kendall jenner” on YouTube, these were the results:
- Kendall Jenner Skims Photo Goes Viral Over Alleged Photoshop Fail
- Kendall Jenner TRIGGERS Fans With Photoshop!
For some reason, the fact that this is the reason why the photo went viral wasn’t included in the original caption by @worthfeed.
The caption continues:
“On the right, a photograph of Alyssa Carson, the 19-year-old astronaut who became the youngest person in history to overcome all NASA’s aerospace tests.
You can probably work which of the two is most well known and globally admired, yet this situation shows us the disproportionate value that society gives to exaggerated beauty stereotypes.”
Here, I will make a case that everyone needs to take Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Marketing classes.
There are many free versions of both online and I hope you’ll consider it after hearing my points. Hell, if you find an Introduction to Marketing Psychology, go for it.
I believe in manifestation and that everyone gets what they deserve eventually, but I don’t claim I don’t see injustice in many areas of life. The world is unfair in many ways. It’s especially unfair to poor people, Black people, people with disabilities, and yes, in many ways, it’s unfair to women.
But pitting women against each other with the excuse of avoiding what could be “detrimental to the evaluation and progress of the human race” isn’t justice in the slightest.
Here’s why I say people need to take some introductory marketing and psychology classes. I will mash the lessons/facts together in the hope that you’ll see how often marketing uses psychology to make its point.
Since its upload a month ago, Amazon’s Superbowl commercial, Alexa’s Body, featuring Michael B. Jordan, has been viewed more than 78 million times. Supposedly, Alexa lived in Michael B. Jordan’s body.
We’ve been over this and this point has been discussed at length in various documentaries, books, and thorough guides. Sexual imagery grabs attention. Marketers love grabbing attention and Freud thought almost everything was of a sexual nature.
A lesson on virality
One of the quickest ways to become viral is by jumping on a viral trend, hence why you might’ve seen hundreds of businesses sharing their own version of the Bernie Sanders meme and why you’ll see hundreds of more brands jump on the next viral trend. Many social media experts even advise using “viral songs” in your videos. This doesn’t apply to businesses exclusively.
Remember last year when millions of people posted black squares on their Instagram (many of which have now been deleted) in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement? The movement had been going on for years, and racism has been going on for centuries, but all it took was for it to become viral for people to start showing their solidarity in this very specific way.
“There is no such thing as bad publicity.”
This expression that suggests that as long as people are talking about a public figure or a company, that’s good news for that person or company, is all too familiar for many marketers. Similarly, psychologically, people who’ve struggled with receiving healthy amounts of attention and love from their parents, will sometimes go to great lengths to receive this attention from others.
The worst thing you can do is become irrelevant.
Socially and psychologically, we are meant to survive and cohabit with other people. It’s one of the reasons why the Covid pandemic has been so rough- depression rates doubled in the UK and tripled in the US (suggested reading: Neuroscience shows how interconnected we are – even in a time of isolation).
No matter what you want to do, it’s easier to do it if you’ve built an audience. More on this later.
Pitting women against each other in 2021 in the pretense of “anti-shallow” work
Loophole 1- Mindblowing, but… All women don’t have the exact same aspirations
Many people working their buns off in STEM are not in it for the fame. Wanting to be famous isn’t related to your worth or intellect whatsoever, and a lot of people in STEM want fame and have built large followings by sharing their findings. However, I think it’s not wrong to say that most of the breakthrough research happening as we speak in biology, medicine, tech, economics, and everything in between, is not very glamorous for the outside people. Also, most scientists lack the time or desire to build a personal brand.
Similarly, I believe that the 19-year-old astronaut didn’t sleep at night dreaming of becoming a model or influencer.
She dreamt of becoming an astronaut, or maybe even specifically to become the youngest person in history to overcome all NASA’s tests. So, she did.
Case study after case study has covered The Kardashians/Jenners as marketing geniuses. The spotlight is on them and it has been for the last 13 years or so. They’ve gone on to build successful fashion and make-up brands. Their careers and livelihood literally depend on being relevant.
And this is my other point that I have a huge problem with.
Loophole 2- Disingenuous takes as if we’re not directly contributing to the problem with what we’re implying
“”I’m the first person to appreciate the female form but if we, are to place this asthenic above incredibly talented, dedicated and skilled individuals like Alyssa Carson I feel It would not only be ignorant but extremely detrimental to the evaluation and progress of the human race.”
At first glance, I thought asthenic was a typo, and the author meant to say “aesthetic.”
But no, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, asthenic means:
- of, relating to, or exhibiting asthenia : WEAK
- ectomorphic, characterized by a lean slender body build with slight muscular development
Now, I’ll give the author the benefit of the doubt that they were referring to the second definition. But here’s what I won’t give it to them about. In saying “if we are to place this asthenic above incredibly talented, dedicated and skilled individuals like Alyssa Carson,” they’re blowing their cover.
This whole take is so disingenuous, and the fact that it’s hidden under “trying not to be extremely detrimental to the evaluation and progress of the human race” is what makes it cringeworthy.
If you were so worried about comparing them, why are you doing it? The implication that people have placed Kendall’s body above (the author doesn’t compare the two women, but compares “Kendall’s asthenic” with) “the incredibly talented, dedicated and skilled individual, Alyssa Carson” isn’t based in reality.
Unless reality is based on social media likes, which last time I checked, no matter what influencers or social media platforms would like to have us believe, is far, far from the truth.
As someone in her mid-twenties, I’ve lived most of my life now on the internet. I’ve relived my successes, failures, my anger, heartbreak, confusion, and my exploration of finding my place, online, publicly. The internet holds pics of us, our loved ones, our pets, our kids, us as kids, our preferences and desires, and even median household income, laid out on the open for everyone to see.
The author says “You can probably work which of the two is most well known and globally admired,” completely disregarding that one of these women has been in the public eye since she was born, how her livelihood depends on her being known, and how adamant Kendall Jenner and her family have been about their desire to remain in the public eye.
Reflections on delusion
In her book Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, the New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino writes about scams and con-men (apparently, the term was first “confidence man”) and what makes some scams fail and some come to life.
Jia writes about the Fyre Festival, which BBC rightfully called “the world’s biggest festival flop.” The festival was promoted in many ways, one of which was influencer marketing. Bella Hadid (also a model) and Kendall Jenner promoted it. Kendall was paid $250,000 for a single Instagram post about the festival in 2017.
I have a strong belief that many people, put in the position to make $250,000 from a 10-second, low effort, low-risk procedure, and make this amount continuously, would do anything within their power not to lose this privilege.
I don’t think I would choose the term “globally admired” to refer to Kendall, again, unless we equate social media followers with admiration. But as I explained in Paradoxically, Show Views Double When We Feel *This* Emotion (Analyzing 431 Series), equating followers or viewership with admiration, or even like, isn’t exactly right:
“For every 0.1% increase in “hate” answers, viewership increased. Views almost doubled for “hate” answers in comparison to “love.”
The author writes “society continues to reward vanity and beauty over real skills and intellect.”
No one compared the two women before this account did it, creating their most liked post in a long time, then implied it was society’s fault. Pretending they didn’t know what they were doing is a stretch.
Any image picturing two women side by side where the main point of the post is comparing the two is not something I stand for, in principle.
Unfortunately, this is the idea on which Facebook, the most popular social network in the world with more than 2.8 billion users, is built. Do you hear that?!
Previously called Facemash, the idea of comparing the “hotness” of two women side by side, is the precedent of the most popular social network worldwide. According to Tolentino, YouTube founders originally intended to build a version of Hot or Not.
Unfortunately, comparison of two women is the most liked picture on @worthfeed, a self-named “Entertainment Website” with the bio “🌱 Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind Always. 🌱” and more than 228,000 people watching along.
It’s how we continue to fail women who don’t look, live, or think like us, with the excuse that we’re doing to protect the 19-year-old’s achievements, even though they were never, ever put into question.
No matter what you want to do, it’s easier to do it if you’ve built an audience.
On Twitter and Instagram, I saw posts saying “how fucked up our world” is since the kidnap of Lady Gaga’s dogs got more news coverage than Asian hate-crimes and schoolgirl kidnappings in Nigeria.
Now, with a quick Google search, I found out that Lady Gaga has 46.5 million Instagram followers and 84 million followers on Twitter.
A lot of people blame our obsession with the wrong things on social media and technology. But like many things, this is also a tale as old as time. A tribe with 100 people is more powerful than a tribe with 5 people. Call it influence, having an audience, or whatever, this is the way sociology and humanity work.
With one single Tweet, she can reach 84 million people. But who’s to say these people aren’t interested in what’s happening in Nigeria? This belief that people can only care about one thing at a time is absurd.
From the way online sharing and celebrity platforms backed up by huge marketing strategies work, I’ll bet that it’s easier for people to retweet Lady Gaga’s dogs than it is to speak up about what’s happening somewhere else, which would include doing a little or a lot of research depending on how internet savvy they are (and which news sources they get their information from), finding what the next actionable steps are to recommend to the people that follow them.
Don’t get me started on “The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid doing it.” Like it or not, being perceived as political or as a SJW, can be quite identity-threatening for people not used to expressing their views online. I think this is why it was easier to post that black square last year than not to, since most people were doing it, it would be identity-threatening to go against the tide by refusing to post it, maybe prompting self-doubt about our own racial biases.
Liking a pic of a model on a bikini doesn’t mean you’re undermining the incredible success of the youngest person to overcome all of NASA’s aerospace tests. There’s no correlation between these two events.
A high moral ground is an enjoyable place to be, sure, but at the end of the day, when we go to sleep at night, all we have is who we are when the world isn’t watching.
In an increasingly connected world, it’s easy to assume that a huge part of our identity resides online, in our words and our silences, and that if we’re good people online, we’re good people offline. But just like it’s easier to retweet Lady gaga’s dogs and harder to publish what’s happening in Nigeria, it’s easier to look outside rather than inside.
It doesn’t mean it’s right, though.