The beauty influencer who wants to be the hot intellectual, but who is, ironically, not smart enough to know why nobody thinks she’s intelligent…lol.

The beauty influencer who wants to be the hot intellectual, but who is, ironically, not smart enough to know why nobody thinks she’s intelligent…lol.

When someone who has built their career (&yes, I am dignifying the “influencer” with the terminology “career” as models are considered to have “careers” as people who work for the sake of commercial interests as advertisements, and what is an “influencer” but a small-scale advertising and marketing agent, much like models of yore?) around their image laments that they are not taken seriously for their very average intellect, I wonder, wholeheartedly about how their perceived intellect has failed to recognize the irony in their lamentations. 

Picture, with me, will you, a younger-than-average-looking, cute, bubbly Korean-American plopped down in front of a camera she positioned to be pointing at herself slathering dozens of different products on her face in the name of “beauty” while attempting to make a statement (without outright saying it) about how glammed-up, hot girls are smart, too, which means that not only does she perceive herself as hot (obviously, due to her online following, right?), but also, she perceives herself as smart, and she wants to be recognized as such. She also perceives of herself as able to maintain her relevance due to the work of others (as a fast-follower rather than a genuine creator, she outsources the creative aspects of her videos). This combination of her lack of genuine creative skill alongside her out-sized perception of her intellect will be her inevitable downfall. 

It is at the moment when you accept the world’s definition of success that you will fail. 

At first, she wonders aloud about how the viewers of her “books videos” (and no, there are no actual quotes from this “influencer” as I am not about to waste my time rummaging through her intellectually void videos for a second time to gather exact quotes) are definitely different from the viewers of her regular (vapid, beauty) videos. And then, while continuing to paint her face with the dozens or so products, she sort of explains how when she’s all “glam,” people comment in a way that makes her feel like nobody takes her “thoughts” (or attempts at more intellectually leaning content) seriously. 

I, literally, laughed out loud. 

And now I’m realizing that I have little to no idea where to actually begin when attempting to be critical of a thing that really requires no intellectual critique. But alas, I do not want her to “go away,” nor do I wish that she would stop making content. I wish for her success and representation as an advertisement. I just also wish that “influencers,” in general, simply own up to the fact that they’re nothing but ads. I actually had plans to write about a certain white woman who is “trending” rn due to her fraudulent behavior in posing as Latina, but then I realized that I’d be amplifying yet another dumbass white woman instead of shedding light on a fellow Korean-American (although, I am not technically Korean-American, as I am, technically, a transracial Korean).

The only point of this writing is to hopefully help her understand why she cannot be taken seriously, unfortunately, at this point in time. This is not to say that one day she might be considered an intellectual, but today, at this point in time, with her average mental capacities (&I’m not being mean here, since, if you were to watch some of her cooking videos for yourself, her attention to detail is slim, which doesn’t bode well for the longevity of her career and apparel business that contributes to the continued catastrophe that is fast-fashion) I am confident that she could become someone who could potentially have something intelligent to say in the future. 

My point is that she’s providing the proof for her own average-sized intelligence. 

Anyone who has built their career on their image is spending all of their time thinking about their image. This means that this same mental energy cannot be utilized for intellectual pursuits. Yes, she does read (but she includes audiobooks as “books read,” which I cannot tolerate because you do not read an audiobook!), but not only does she read fluff, she largely does not understand what she reads. Her reading comprehension, in fact, is so low that she has a hard time finishing each week’s publication of The New Yorker within the week that she receives them. 

This is the thing that intellectuals know about people who care a lot about how they look—they know that the amount of time people spend doing their makeup, shopping for makeup, selecting their outfits, shopping for outfits, worrying about whether or not a certain makeup look makes them look smart is the exact reason why she is not smart. The entire portion of the video was dedicated to her ruminating about what sort of makeup look will make her LOOK intelligent to the viewers who stumble upon her “books videos” instead of spending that time studying the books she’s going to talk about in a way that will actually make her intelligent. Get it? 

And so no, I’m not being mean, nor am I saying anything particularly damning. I’ve only repeated things she’s shared herself, which means that these things are open to discussion and criticism because she put them out there. And it is this same principle that has put my own opinion of her “out there” for criticism by someone far smarter than me. 

I get it. She desires to be perceived as intelligent more than she actually wants to be intelligent, and I know this through her (failed) attempts to drop knowledge about ideas such as “cognitive dissonance” and “antifragility,” the latter of which I know she knows absolutely nothing about because she’s never once referenced the author or his source material when discussing books, not to mention that her usage of the idea of antifragility in such prosaic and superficial terms proves that she knows absolutely nothing about it. Hint: It is, first and foremost, an economic theory. 

She’s aware of the fact that school was difficult for her, and she’s even proud of the strides she’s made in her intelligence. I’m not here to deride the work that she’s done. I’m merely the messenger attempting to explain to her why nobody will ever take her seriously until she takes herself seriously, which doesn’t mean figuring out a way to look like someone to take seriously but rather, means that she needs to cultivate actual skills that will make other people see her as intelligent. And pointing a camera at yourself as you review consumer goods for the internet is hardly an intelligent pursuit, which again, is why one’s money is not a reflection of one’s intellect. 

Which actually brings me to another point about her general lack of intelligence with regards to finance. She continually refers to herself as financially independent. Hmmm…what does that mean? Well, for starters, financial independence is defined by the fact that one no longer needs to trade their time for money. She thinks that because she can name her own hours (like all business owners) she is financially independent. Hmmm. Okay. Well, first off, she is working, “hard,” every day. She doesn’t even work for herself. She has a manager and advertisers for whom she works. She thinks, “But I can choose my advertisers.” Yea, until your numbers droop (when you inevitably age-out of the demographic category into which you currently fit). And if she decides, even for one month, to stop making videos, from where will her income come? Wealth is largely determined by how long you can sustain your current lifestyle without trading a single second of your time for money. Financial independence means that you are wealthy. 

Is she rich? Sure. Does she have some cash stashed away that makes her feel as though she can afford her lifestyle without income? Probably. But she is not financially independent because her expenses are too high, which means that she must pump out videos and content so that she can continue to cover her expenses (and I’m not even going to attempt to break down how her apparel company will fail). She must relegate herself to content creation in order to sustain her lifestyle. So is she rich? Yes. But is she financially independent, fuck no! 

And obviously, smart women can be hot, and there are a lot of hot women who are incredibly smart. Intellectualism, however, is a completely different pursuit, but even among the dowdy intellectuals, there are hot women, and I know this because I’m a hot woman who is an intellectual. But my pursuits have not revolved around my fortunate appearance, because, who cares? My pursuits have been around cultivating my intellect, and so, when someone interacts with me, they’re seeing the fruits of my labor (my intellect), and when someone interacts with her, they’re also seeing the fruits of her labor, which largely revolves around her image. 

At the end of the day, she’s showing up to her intellectual pursuits with a makeup bag and complaining that nobody (except her tween following) is impressed by her intelligence.

None of this matters, obviously. I’m just bored.

Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

So, there’s this white woman (or family but mostly it is the mother) on the ‘Gram who, in my humble opinion (which is wholly entitled to speak about such an issue), is simply the worst. She and her white (doctor) husband adopted two black, twin girls through an adoption where the birth mother and white woman met.

DISCLAIMER—I am (as the aforementioned white woman defines) a transracial adoptee. I am of Asian descent, and my parents are two white people. They adopted me decades ago, long before the internet, long before social media, and you know what, they do not perceive themselves as heroes or some fanciful influencers who can and will make adoption #trending. They’re just my parents. I’m their child. They did everything they could to make my life as a former orphan totally normal (my older brother was essential in making my life seem normal). This writing is not really about them, but they are the greatest parents in the world. I’m not biased at all—END DISCLAIMER.

And so, this is the place from where I have come, and this is the impetus for my disdain for said white woman. It’s one thing to do good; it’s an entirely other thing when you want to share, through self-promotion, all of the good you are doing. Of course, I do not know the circumstances of why this white couple chose to adopt not-white kids. I also do not know why it is that they chose to adopt at all. Perhaps they have shared their story, but it is hardly the story about which they want to talk, and oddly enough, it’s really the only story they are entitled to tell. I would take no issue with this white woman spewing her whiteness and lamenting, remembering and rejoicing in the sadness of her motherhood story about how these girls have changed everything, from her perspective. But this is not the messaging of this white woman; instead, she opts for seeking praise for how great of a white woman she is to two black girls. I have many friends who are interracial couples, who (inevitably) have interracial children, and who are in families where nobody looks like anybody else.

The issue is not that this white woman adopted two black girls. The issue is that two orphaned children (no matter their race) were abandoned by the woman who conceived them, and now, they are being raised by two strangers. Yes, race will play a part at some point in their lives, but the issue, at this stage in their lives, is not about race—it’s about adoption. They will forever feel abandoned. They will forever know they were unwanted. They will forever face the challenges that come with being an orphaned child. Whatever this white woman does will not control or change the fact that she is not their birth mother. Someone who was supposed to love them unconditionally, forever, gave them up. The issue with adoption is about adoption, not race.

I grew up not seeing any other people who looked like me, aside from my brother and one other kid my brother’s age who was also adopted from the same country, around the same time (all during the span of a few decades, hundreds of thousands of children were adopted out of this particular country, and essentially, created enough economic activity to jump-start the country from which they were adopted into the modern ages, and nobody talks about this, and yet, here we are, a massive population of Korean adoptees who were shipped to These United States but who are wholly American [leave out the Asian, please]).

Of course, my identity is important. It’s important to know the answers to questions that are obvious, like “Why don’t you look like your parents.” The reason why I do not look like my parents is because I was adopted, not because I am Asian; I just happen to be Asian. My parents went out of their way to make sure that they knew about the country of our birth, our homeland. They went out of their way to educate themselves about our homeland. We traveled to go to a camp that was tailored specifically for adoptees from this country. We traveled to the country to visit and see where we were from, but none of my issues about adoption revolves around my race. Of course, I cannot speak for the girls as they are black, and so, their lives will inevitably acknowledge their race in a way that I cannot relate to. Nevertheless, right now, as children, their adoption issues are about their adoption. People will see them as black kids with white parents, but they will not see themselves as such. They will just see themselves, and then they will look at their parents, and they will not think to themselves, “Oh, there’s my white mom.” Instead, this white woman, as she frets about things I cannot believe she frets about, will be perceived by her twins as their mother. Just mom. No race. And so, the race issues that this white woman frets about now are all about her, not about the actual people who will have to deal with the issues of race…her daughters. It’s almost like she sits and thinks about what the world thinks about her when they see that she has two black girls, like she sits and thinks about her girls’ blackness. And it’s like all of these thoughts make her feel sad, bad, worried about a future that is already making her feel uncomfortable.

I know that I look Asian, but I am not Asian. I know that I definitely do not look white, but I am very white. I did not need to grow up to be everything. I can be Asian-looking because the woman who gave birth to me is Asian. But I can also be fully white on the inside because the two people who saved me are white. All of these people instilled within me an amalgamation of a new identity, me. This happens to everyone. Thus, all of this emphasis on adoption being so strange and different is meaningless and somewhat harmful. Not that adoption should be ignored and dismissed, but the emphasis could change. If this white woman continues to emphasize the race and adoption part, she will forever make her girls feel like adoption is not normal. People within biological families are adopted by biological relatives! This white woman was not chosen so much as as she was willing and available, and so, her emphasis on her being chosen over the idea that she saved two people’s lives makes me sick.

Sure, they can share the tips and tricks of the adoption process, help those who would rather or who have no other option but to adopt, but this particular couple rubs me so wrong because the white woman basically spews every single little thought she has about how (essentially) great, blessed, amazed, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, she is to be able to be these girls’ mother, how “incredibly blown away I am that their mother chose me.” The fact that she shares at all for capital earnings and superficial gains pisses me off. Exploitation much? The fact that the entirety of social media highlights those who already brag about themselves, those who are already predisposed to bragging about the nothingness of their accomplishments pisses me off, I suppose, if I’m being honest. There are so many people out in the world doing good and not shining a light on themselves.

In this vein, my parents adopted children to save lives, not to brag about whatever accomplishment they felt as though they achieved by being “chosen” to be parents for children who are orphaned. Sure, you can argue that perhaps my mother is not as clever or resourceful in turning her knowledge and experience into a half-assed business/IG post. Or you could argue that my mother not only had enough knowledge and experience to adopt children, internationally, before the internet did everything for you, but also, my mother spent all of her time raising me and my brother (also adopted from the same country, but no, we are not related by blood), used all of her energy and resources to give us the greatest life possible. My mother did not spend all of her time “sharing” and promoting the greatness of the works she endeavored to pursue. No. My mother spent all of that time doing it, and we’re both fully grown, self-sufficient adults. She succeeded (They both did, I am intentionally leaving out my father at this time, using my mother as a comparison to the white woman in question).

So, while it’s nice that the white woman in question (who exists as the impetus of this writing) wants or desires to “share her story,” she embodies everything that is essentially wrong with white women in America, these days. White women in America are capable of turning something like being a black adoptee in America into something that’s all about them. The good news is that all of this white-woman attention might actually be able to bring more issues about race to light, but don’t hold your breath. A white woman will not risk her position. Nevertheless, the issue remains. Whether or not this white woman succeeds will not be known until her girls are both able to tell her and prove to the rest of us that their mother raised decent, self-sufficient people.

‘Beauty & The Blogger’

‘Beauty & The Blogger’

… but don’t think influencing is something to be proud of.

-Bill Maher

(Real Time with Bill Maher, Season 17; Episode 8, 15 March 2019)

 

Imagine with me, will you?, the world in which you live. Perhaps when is the future. Perhaps when is the now. Either way, you plop down in front of a screen, and you scroll through YouTube or VidTube or YouVid, you get the point. You flip through a handful of your go-to channels, and then you browse a bit to see if there’s anything new left to discover. And then, you inevitably end up on the channel of an influencer. You watch this person entertain you with funny, educational, fun, beautiful life. You watch as this person either does a workout or performs some skill or teaches you something cool or shows you something cool or takes you along on some journey or slathers their face in makeup so that they may court jester you through the world of the elite.

The worst of these influencers, to me, are of the beauty variety. And a middle-of-the-road example would be Jenn Im, the beloved, adorable, cute, airy, uplifting, good-vibes-only, Korean-American, beauty influencer. Im runs a strong YouTube channel, has her own hype-clothing brand, collabs—seemingly endlessly—with all sorts of brands, all around the world. She’s living the dream, right? Unfortunately, not so much. The reality of the influencer market is that they are the future middle class.

If you cannot “make it” without a “job” (meaning, if you are incapable of creating work for yourself), you will not, unfortunately, make it very far into the future. Consider how much money it takes to live today, at the level of civility and luxury we all seem to think is middle class. From my perspective, the problem of the disappearing middle class is as much a problem of the actual people who make up the middle class as it is the powers that be who have (essentially) oppressed us. This is not really about that. Nevertheless, the amount of luxury that “middle-class living” demands has inflated the cost of a middle-class lifestyle. Not to mention inflation of the dollar in and of itself. What this means now, is that the middle-class lifestyle has shifted into upper middle class, and the what was the middle class is now lower middle class. What’s truly missing is the middle of the middle class. And so, it seems as if the middle-class lifestyle has disappeared, but really, those who are in the upper middle class are still middle class citizens, even if they do have a million-dollar net worth. A million dollars no longer makes a person rich, if they want to live an upper-middle-class lifestyle, and that’s crazy. Think about that. If you want the semblance of simply keeping up, you need to make more than a few million dollars. This is nearly unattainable for the vast majority of people, and this is why influencing is not something about which one ought to feel pride.

The future that I see includes a still disproportionate distribution of wealth with the majority of it being held by a few hands, but that group will grow. Influencers and content creators, with millions of dollars in hand each year, will fall largely within and makeup most of the middle class along with a few independent business owners and corporate, upper-level management, but they will never rise to the very top. And then, the poorest among us will be left far behind to (essentially) fend for ourselves within our own little, poor world. Economies will rise within the poor, and a few will be catapulted out, up into the middle class, the truly ambitious, perhaps further.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I would say that influencers will never rise to the very top, and you’re also now probably debating whether or not you should become an influencer. First, influencers cannot rise once they are influenced. Once an influencer is influenced, either by catering to their audience or by being bought by companies to promote products, they establish themselves among the service class of the elite. Yea, sure, they are rewarded handsomely, and are even invited to peep into the world of the elite, but do not be confused, they are not part of the powers that be. They are the tools of the entertainment establishment. Be a tool. This is what I’m here to say. Make yourself useful to someone who has money to pay you for your usefulness.

In a world that will—inevitably—be run and operated by artificial intelligence and robots, you will have to have a purpose larger than showing up to work every day. You need to create that purpose. You need to create your work. You need to create your value. Once the table is set, and it will be set very soon, everyone will have to sit wherever they land. The music will stop, meaning jobs will no longer be created for you. Make sure that you’ve found a seat long before that day comes.