The modern-day female is driven by ambition and success, she gets fulfillment from personal achievements and standing out in the world as a woman who could make it thus far! In this age of technological advancement and innovation, coming up has become much easier, especially within the social context. The come-up culture values the growth in status to the highest level, which is then measured as “making an impact in the world." We call this “social media influencing.” Social media influencers are perceived as world-changing personalities even if it really depends on their scope of digital marketing. The come-up culture can be applied across all sectors and areas of work, and it encourages working towards targeted recognition for a targeted impact - marketing. As a society, pursuing civic leadership and making a lasting social impact within our communities has become something expected of any influencer. This is prominently shown in how everyone has become an activist, particularly on social media, and accolades and awards are given for philanthropy and community work to individuals and organizations. However, Amonge Sinxoto, co-founder of Blackboard Africa, reminds us, “Social impact is having your voice heard and your voice acknowledged beyond social media growth.” She advocates for influencing that brings positive change in one’s life and the lives of others. My question is: As females come-up, are they having a social impact on themselves and others?
Like a world stage, social media provides a platform for the female’s voice to be heard and engaged. Social media has made it easier to interact and raise awareness of the unending social ills that people face every day. As females come-up, they learn that it is important for their voices to be heard throughout the world and to engage other females as they raise their voices. It has also created a world stage where we exchange ideas and adapt to new strengths for emancipation. Ultimately, social media has created a community that is quick to act on social ills, to raise its voices; and share (many) opinions. The world has become a community of finger activists, arguably good ones, that have incredible power for social impact. In this community, the female has found a place. One of the best qualities of the 21st-century female is her ambition, which social media does not allow to go unrecognized. Social media mechanisms unceasingly hype female empowerment and feminist movements, and the impact is on young females all over the world. Females continue to break barriers set against them on the basis of gender. Females are coming up on multiple ladders of success. Social media tags all of these successes: #youcandowhatmencando; #blackgirlmagic; #Sebenzagirl (work girl).
All these are characteristics of the come-up culture, woven into different ideas and phenomena that drive females to the top. Across the different stages of female emancipation, it is in this era that females pursue excellence with no reservations. However, as is with all movements and ideologies that seek primarily to make a social impact, there are complexities in the chains of socialization and how we interpret ideas. The come-up culture having played a big role in the lives of females has also constructed ideals of social impact, which has left many females feeling left out and unfulfilled. For most people, social impact is measured by the number of followers and the number of likes, comments, and other tools that reflect acknowledgment and engagement to individual posts. Seeing that not all can be social media savvy and pull the numbers with the right lingo and the right quality pictures, some have since failed to feel the impact of their work.
Aside from the numbers, social media has molded people into finger activists obsessed with social media platforms. There is sad neglect of the grassroots communities from which individuals come-up. As I mentioned earlier, interactions with the global world teach females a lot, however, we need to remember to take it back to our communities. It is in our communities that young girls are taught to be ambitious but not too ambitious so that they can aspire to marriage as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said. It is in our communities where young boys inherit toxic masculinity and learn to treat girls different. Yes, maybe at some point in their lives they will come to understand the importance of unlearning some of these narratives, but, as a generation of future black females, it is better to be on the come-up in our communities where we can mitigate the harmful practices of early socialization and the miseducation of our youth. Future Black Females should aim to have their social impact spill onto social media from their local and home communities, not the other way around.
There are many ways in which the come-up culture has encouraged females, young and old, worldwide, to aspire to more and to raise their voices to be heard. However, most young females are striving to be influencers without any thought to the social impact or even the impact their celebrity (if they make it) might have on them. It is crucial to make change happen by engaging our communities at their level. Let us come up in the world as females that dominate all spaces, and let our voices be heard and acknowledged from our grassroots to the world. Most importantly, Future Black Female, your work is not invisible, your efforts are not in vain, everything you do, no matter how small, has an impact. Continue to be the change you want to see!