Now that I have launched a website and am building a presence online, I engage deeply in the alternate world of social media. More than I had ever before. Social media is a beast and can boost the average MILF into an Instagram Vixen. Social media turns “the funny guy” into a movie star and a D list celebrity. Social media turns a starving artist into an appreciated master of their craft. A single post can redirect the path of your life, mentally prepared for the changes or not. A beautiful woman coming into herself can slowly begin a life of compromise. You and I have open access to the World around us in a way that wasn’t possible when our parents were children. The power to mold your social media persona in your hands.
As I post online every other day and interact with my friends and few followers, I can’t help but note the brown beauties killing it on the screens I stare into. Black girls are embracing their natural hair, hips, curves, and culture in waves. White girls can’t get enough of our dance moves, lips, thighs, backsides, hair and EVERYTHING ELSE. This is the time to be “a happy black woman” and everyone is riding and exploiting this train. As “black girl pride” and “melanin” are taking over hashtags and branding campaigns, it seems that thirst trappin’ is what generates likes, followers and fame. For this post, I define thirst trappin’ as the act of alluring men or women with sexy pictures or content to cause others to publicly profess their attraction and boost one’s social media fame.
Thirst trappin’ is a norm. My feed and timeline are literally full of nearly naked women with their faces cropped out. If you consider the attention these posts receive compared to posts of clothed women uploaded at the same time, the naked woman wins every time. And why wouldn’t she in a society that’s drowning in sex. The songs we listen to, advertisements we subconsciously internalize, television content allowed to enter the privacy of our homes. Everything is selling oversexualized messages. The beauty industry makes millions on anything they can conjure up to make you feel sexy and in return you share your sexy with the world. As a teacher, it is devastating for a generation when the average reading level of an entire 8th grade class is that of a 4th grader, but they understand the power of exposing and sexualizing themselves online as their parents like and share said posts. We are breeding sexy illiterate children. Babies are lost because these babies don’t understand that the effects of social media posts are long lasting. They don’t have the privilege of making the same mistakes I made as a child with no worry of my irresponsible actions ending up online.
I am not lumping all youth together and understand that many socioeconomic conditions effect the development of children. I can say that many of them have social accounts and are not oblivious to what is posted and fed to them on a daily basis.
I am an educator and I have figured out that my life’s passion is youth. I stepped away from the classroom but never away from the work of building, loving and nurturing the youth who’ll be in charge when my time passes. I refuse to thirst trap because I’m not a part time example. These babies are watching me all the time. We have enough people who openly remind us that they don’t want to be role models to children starving for a way out. I understand the significance of having a woman of value and substance in my life and don’t want to send conflicting messages to impressionable children who see me as the standard. I know many who don’t allow children to follow them on social media. For me this isn’t the case. Although I’m not perfect, I want my students to see that I conduct & present myself identically online, as with everyday interactions. I can’t tell a teenage girl, who operates on what she sees is real, to “do as I say, not as I do”. I refuse to sit before trusting parents as they scroll through my social media and see everything but the wisdom I try to plant in their children. I don’t want to be a hindrance to those who witness the Goddess radiating from within me. While I share images and thoughts, I hope to inspire, motivate and encourage, not distract.
Although I’m not yet my partner’s wife, I have a commitment to him. I’m committed to our relationship and the union we are building. What’s under my clothes, I’m sure other men imagine. I don’t have to help them with that. I send a clear message that I am a beautiful confident woman. Naked images of my sacred temple is not how I want to be defined and circulated. Think about the words I leave and clear message I send.
It becomes easy to pretend that children don’t see and internalize our actions. It is simple to deny friend requests from parents and the children I’ve taught. It appears easy to separate my online self from the authentic Ashley. That’s the lie we tell ourselves. Perception is real, especially when dealing with children who still grapple with what real is. Real is the lasting effect on my students seeing me naked online. Real is the look on a child’s face when you break their heart and look no different from what you preach. Real is a pregnant child who can’t distinguish reality from illusion and ends up making a life-changing decision. Real is a cycle of babies parenting babies and using their “assets” to generate fame and notoriety.
When I see stunningly beautiful women with 7 Million followers in dresses that cover only their vaginal region, it breaks my heart. Everyone knows black women are beautiful beings; who are you convincing, yourself? We all do what we think is best for us given our unique situations and I can only hope that I always remember who I am and from whom I am a descendant of. I am smart, funny, charismatic, thoughtful, poised, silly, dedicated, loving, a song-bird, a woman whose body is a vessel and a brain to be used to its fullest capacity.
I am a woman who understands that actions hold greater value than the words that form across my tongue and out of my lips.
Am I ever tempted to post a picture that exposes my temple and entices others to lust? Now that I am 29, know my purpose and am living intentionally, No. I have a purpose. I will be great. I want to walk into spaces and if my body is a thought, it’s a mystery. I lead with my character. I listen, deeply. I talk, purposefully.
I do not judge women who choose to do otherwise because again, we all make decisions based on our best interest. I just want something different for myself.
I want to be remembered for my beautiful mind although I understand that my body is amazing to behold, yet sacred.
Each woman is entitled to do as she wishes with the body she has been blessed with, or purchased nowadays. As for me, Ashley Valentine won’t be thirst trappin’. If you lust, you do so without me planting and watering the seed.