An off-shoot of the trophy generation, our twenty-something girls are stretched thin from the shift in mantra of “girls can do anything” to “girls should be everything.” We’re expected to be effortlessly pretty, smart, kind, patient, creative, successful, and worldy. Our necks strain from the many hats we bear, yet we must maintain our posture and pose for our latest profile picture (32 likes). Indulging in a “covet thy neighbor” cycle of manufacturing images of perfect lives, we use social media as a sliding scale of our self worth.
Our post-grad girls are feigning steadiness as our new-age etiquette training from college is meant to serve as a fulcrum in our balance of career and social lives. Our years spent cramming our resumes with clubs and activities while maintaining a perfect GPA – in spite of our carefully crafted personas as the “fun girls” who can drink beer with the guys – spits us out into our working world identities. Our social media is peppered with photos of our morning lattes that accompany our trendy-yet-professional apparel that we woke up at 5 AM to craft (22 likes). We never glance across the cubicle at our male counterparts, whose capability is never questioned based on the rotation schedule of their button-up shirts or whether their hair is straight or curly. We type furiously with hands that shake from the amphetamines we’ve been prescribed to get us through the workload, and proudly declare that we’re “just so busy” to anyone who asks.
Our girls never look less than put together. We scroll through photo after photo of perfectly contoured and filtered pseudo-celebrities, making a mental wish-list of features as we anxiously pick at our eyelash extensions. Modest makeup bags are replaced with vanities resembling battle stations to attack any perceived flaw we can find under the fluorescent lights. When our eyebrows are perfectly groomed and our skin is so smooth that it looks as if it had been poured on to our skeleton, we scurry into the corner of the bathroom with perfect lighting and snap a photograph at the optimal angle to emphasize our cheekbones and hide the toilet (36 likes).
Fabulous meals on perfectly arranged plates serve as punctuation for our week to remind our social media followers that you can have your cake and eat it too. Don’t forget that our girls are healthy. The “stressed means skinny” motto of the past has become passé, and we always have enough time to eat clean. We prepare our meals with locally-grown, chemical-free, hormone-free organic vegetables and superfoods that haven’t been heard of and ignore the growls of our stomachs under our pencil skirts. We always make it to the gym after work and we have the photos to prove it (24 likes). An optimistic caption is carefully formulated and hashtagged, touting the power of endorphins as we swallow a sleep aid to stop our minds from becoming overwhelmed with tomorrow’s expectations of who and what we must be.
Our girls never fall apart. We are never lost. The idea of being without motive is taboo, so we dress it up in a cloak of positivity because we always know what we’re doing. We’re connected to the earth, as can be seen by our documentation of our galavants in nature and newfound love of yoga (45 likes). We’re young, happy, and free, screaming our joy into selfie sticks and declaring our independence in our Instagram captions. We may be stretched thin, but we will disguise it into a warrior pose and share it to the public to make sure they know that we’re relaxed (35 likes).
Our weekends are spent documenting our friendships, which are always so loyal and supportive. We celebrate each other’s accomplishments with nostalgic photographs to remind our followers how much we care and are cared for (19 likes).
Our relationships are magical fairytales with forays in faraway lands where our coordinating outfits complement the scenic backdrop (54 likes). We laugh through our memories together, because we are always having fun. We are kind and patient partners, supportive of our significant other’s dreams and always cheering on their accomplishments. We are never offended and never nag. And of course, their friends love us, because we always serve homemade snacks before sitting down with a craft beer and cheering on their favorite team. Photographs of eager faces behind ticket stubs prove our girls have mastered their position as “one of the boys” (36 likes).
Our courtships culminate in perfectly crafted engagements with a photographer hidden behind a nearby bush (92 likes). The upcoming nuptials are christened with a custom hashtag that is clever and adorable. We breeze through planning with help of online boards until we’ve created a rustic-chic fantasy that is equal parts classic and unique. And as we dance in a refurbished factory, between tables covered in burlap and antique accents, we make sure to keep our good side to the camera (87 likes). Our girls know that a featured post on The Knot was worth the loans used to create this enchanting night.
When we finish uploading the photographs from our honeymoon at a third world bungalow, our social media presence becomes inundated with our perfect marriage, a pinnacle of partnership and adoration (42 likes). Our home is filled with a delicate mix of vintage finds and do-it-yourself projects, because our girls are too crafty for the generic furniture stores of our parents. Our house is always clean, the fridge is always stocked, and our husband’s stomach is always full. We polish the rungs as we attempt to climb the corporate ladder. Our careers are equally important, because we’re a power couple. When we’re ready to expand our family (at a respectable age), we lament about how wonderful pregnancy is as we strut through our office in the same high heels until the hours before the due date arrives. We never slow down, because we can do it all. Our maternity leave isn’t more than a pause used to decorate our social media with perfectly posed photographs of our newborn before we return to our careers (91 likes).
Our girls are perfect mothers. We never raise our voices or get frustrated, because each moment with our child is magical. We surround our child in a fairytale world of mischievous creatures for every holiday who deliver homemade organic treats. And at our daughter’s birthday party, with its creative motif that transformed our living room into an enchanted forest, we will share a post on our Facebook to let our followers know that we raised her to be effortlessly pretty, smart, kind, patient, creative, successful, and worldy (104 likes).