The puzzling state of Instagram and TikTok

January 10, 2024

tongue-outGet ready, I’m about to show my age. Or is it my common sense? You decide.

Scrolling through Instagram is a guilty pleasure. My feed is stuffed with cat and dog rescue photos, inspirational memes, Formula 1 racing, fashion and art, so it’s a reflection of me. Social media posts  usually reflect the user.

But I also follow some much younger women–some celebrities and some not. Some very lovely young women.

Almost all of these young women post daily selfies. Usually in skimpy clothing and in provocative poses.  That’s the extent of their feed. Nothing else.

And then their young female friends respond, usually one word, like “Fire.” or “Queen.” or “Hot” “Gorgeous” “Angel” “Slay” “Pretty” “Love you!”


THIS, for example

I just reviewed a few of those feeds and in a whole year of posts …let’s say 300 posts, I saw only selfies. Now, I love a beautiful young woman. But the repeated selfies –lacking any other substance at all- are a disturbing reflection of our society.

And what of this trend of posing with tongue out, like the old Rolling Stone Hot Lips logo, but really more like a crazy porn shot. WTF? It’s so…unattractive.

When I see young women doing this and their moms “liking” it, I wonder “why?” Is this really the message they want their daughters to give to the world?

Because no matter what else a young woman has to offer, THIS is what many choose to share. THIS is their online image. Part of their “brand.” I just don’t get it.

So I have to ask:

– What are these posts adding to the world?

– What does it say about the poster that they need to exhibit provocative shots of themselves every day or even more often?

-Why do they have nothing to say about their world or the world around them?

– What does it say about how they are growing up…or not growing up?

– Is it any wonder that we have a superficial view of beauty? and self-worth?

I wonder why I rarely see young women post anything with a scintilla of intellectual content. Not social or political commentary. Not even a movie recommendation. Or an action shot of them water skiing or surfing –unless posed in a skimpy bikini. Not a great meal they’ve just prepared.  Just a static but provocative pose of a beautiful young woman exposing skin, and sometimes tongue, over and over and over.

I wonder why parents who see these posts –or even LIKE them–aren’t concerned at this amount of self-focus. That their daughters are revealing themselves to be superficial and self-involved.

Maybe they think “kids will be kids,” I don’t know. But were I a parent, I would definitely be concerned.

And then, this: I don’t post on TikTok but I can’t escape reposts on other social outlets. These days, role of cosmetics and the ritual of putting cosmetics on seems to have taken on great importance in the TikTok world.



This is actually a modest level of contouring.


Contouring. I

have never SEEN so much contouring and it’s usually on young women who do not NEED contouring. Also, there seems to be a competition to find the strangest ways to start contouring.  Brushing color on in triangles. Or a series of Xes. Or circles. Or slashes and triangles. Tribal patterns.

It is absolutely puzzling to me how it all works, especially because they seem to use one brush to blend it all together. How on earth do the colors stay where they are supposed to when you run the same brush threough it all? Why doesn’t the face become all one color. Maybe it’s my age, but…It is just so odd to me. I just saw one who used a FORK to guide makeup application. That’s right. She put the fork on her nose and applied makeup in the grooves. I mean. Seriously????

Oh and the trend to “get ready” on TikTok. That is, have a conversation with followers, really just a soliloquy, while putting on makeup. It is…riveting. And puzzling–as I wonder why I need to watch them put makeup on.

So yes, maybe it’s my age. Or maybe it’s that I am super-concerned about the values I see reflected among the tongue-out younger generations.

Or rather, don’t see.

Oh and here’s today’s reminder:

It just takes a few bucks to do something thoughtful for someone who is hurting.


7 comments on “The puzzling state of Instagram and TikTok
  1. Laurie Stone says:

    I agree with the inanity of the constant selfies, especially posing in front of the mirror. It seems so empty, so turned away from the world outside of themselves. I hope these pretty, young women pull away from their phones long enough to vote next November. I hope they’re paying attention.

    • I am pretty sure that when I post this on social media I will have people who say “each to their own” or “it’s harmless” or “what’s wrong with havinga good sense of self esteem.” In general I think people today do not see the societal implications. Everything is so dumbed down. Like our politics. I know we agree on how important the blue vote is and esp the young blue vote. But my fear is they will be seduced by third party candidates and we have plenty of examples of what will happen then.

  2. JANEANE M DAVIS says:

    I am also a “woman of a certain age.” Young people see and experience the world so differently than I do. I watch, read, and learn. They are saying things, but I do not yet know what.

  3. Lauren says:

    This!!! I post content 5x a week nd let me tell you, I have a hard time with it. Mostly because I am middle aged and don’t love myself beyond measure (or even pretend to). Social media has become a cess pool. But honestly, if you post anything with substance you get attacked these days which is a major reason why I think it’s so vacuous. That said, I agree about contour…however I use it on the regular…but like a normal person.

  4. Bobi says:

    TikTok is not exactly a hotbed of intellectual thought. My favorite trend lately is the people who “decant” large packages of individual snacks (think chips, crackers, juice boxes) and “organize” them in their drawers, pantry or baskets. Not quite as vapid as the things you mentioned but strange (at least to me) nevertheless. With all due respect to Janeane (above) and I love her comment, I don’t think I want to know what they are saying.

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