This is the fourth installment of a new Dating and Relationships column I’m attempting to create here on Phicklephilly. My friend Jackie and I have been kicking around the idea of writing an advice column together. We actually came up with the idea a few years ago. We wanted something that gave advice from a man’s and a woman’s perspective. We’re going to try to publish this column at least once a month for now. If it catches on, we’ll probably run every week.
Welcome to: HIS & HERS!
Here’s a little background on Jackie.
Jackie Rupp grew up as a very sheltered only child, having parents with mental illness and few friends, she’s always been fascinated by the human condition and all our unique quirks and idiosyncrasies. She often writes about wrestling with social anxiety, fumbling through relationships, and ways to improve outlook. As a marketing consultant and founder of CAT creative agency, she helps businesses develop better content and branding messages and is always taking on new clients. A proud mom of two, she’s also passionate about pancakes, kittens, and exploring new adventures in handmade crafting.
Okay, let’s get to the business at hand. Here’s our newest question.
I’m obsessed with a model on Instagram. I follow her and get all of the notifications. I really think she’s beautiful and love looking at her pictures. But here’s the thing… she’s underage. I’m feeling guilty about this and don’t know what to do. Can you offer some advice?
- Please End Da Obsession
The beauty of the internet is that at the end of the day, we have control over our actions on it. Just as we have control over our actions in real life. Although the internet might seem like a place where lines are blurred and we don’t behave the same way we do in-person, laws and morals still apply.
Because this girl is underage, I see only one option and that’s to hit the unfollow button and go cold turkey letting go of this fantasy — because it is wrong. In a world of mostly grays, this is an easy black and white issue with a black and white response, just stop.
Now, beyond the underage part which doesn’t put this up for debate, there is the other idea of falling in love online, which is something I discuss a lot about in my writing. Been there, done that, don’t recommend, zero stars out of five.
I’m not a psychologist so I can’t tell you about all the intricacies of the human brain and how obsessive behavior forms, but I do know a bunch about falling for an image on a screen. It sucks you in for a number of reasons:
- Unlike IRL, social media profiles are available to us 24/7
- Unlike IRL, there’s no chance of rejection, hurt, or awkward, difficult situations
- Unlike IRL, photos can create any fantasy narrative. Social media photos don’t fart, don’t have food in their teeth, or bad hair days
- Unlike IRL, social media profiles don’t talk back, don’t challenge us, don’t require our attention when we want to be alone, don’t demand things we have to make a real effort to give.
To sum it up, online ain’t real life. And the only way to stop feeding your brain the empty calories of social media fantasies is to put down your phone and interact with real humans.
This is hard right now. For single people especially, the pandemic has been a mental health challenge. Loneliness is a danger to mental health. But that’s why it’s all the more important to seek out whatever human interactions you can have, even if they’re zoom dates and phone sex. It’s still better than wasting time on an image that might feel like it’s giving you something back but really isn’t.
I agree with Jackie… to an extent. Although the internet isn’t real life the photos and videos you’re looking at are. I’ve noticed in recent years more and more parents are promoting their daughters on Instagram. Especially the mothers. Their kids are in gymnastics or are cheerleaders or young models. I get that kids enjoy doing activities and sharing photos of those activities with their friends on social media. But what I struggle with is seeing girls as young as 6 or 8 years old mugging for the camera in full makeup and sexy outfits. Doing makeup tutorials and thanking these companies that send them free clothes and makeup to promote their brands. I blame the parents and these despicable corporations that make and push these products on kids. Why should a 9-year-old girl be wearing makeup? Who is the audience that she’s trying to look pretty for? I think to the child it’s some innocent dress up and free stuff, but I would bet that some of their biggest followers are pedophiles. I’m not calling you a pedo, but it looks weird and unnatural for a 10-year-old girl to be doing duck lips and posing suggestively. It’s gross, and again, the blame lies in the parent’s hands.
If you like looking at a particular girl who happens to be underage, I think you have to ask yourself why you like her. You didn’t state your age in your question but I’m assuming you’re considerably older. I’m not persecuting you, but what is your attraction to young girls? Maybe you think she’s cute but you used the word, obsessed. I don’t think it’s healthy to be obsessed with an underage girl. Nothing good can come from that. I get that many men are attracted to young women. I’m guilty of that myself. But I would advise you to never act on your feelings for a girl who’s underage but in this country it’s illegal. You can get into a lot of trouble for that. Just looking at photos is one thing, but I would do what Jackie said. Delete all attachments to this profile and any other profiles that are like that. The best advice I can give you is to try to form meaningful relationships with women your own age. You’ll feel better about yourself and the direction you’re heading in life.
You mention that you have been feeling guilty about it. So you know that what you’re feeling for this underage girl is inappropriate. You know what you’re doing is wrong. You can never have a relationship with an underage girl in real life. I think it’s wrong that these parents are putting out hundreds of photos of their daughters for all the world to leer at and would never imagine ever doing something like that with my own daughter.
But I would address your attraction to young girls. Maybe talk to a professional about your feelings. You haven’t done anything wrong yet. It’s not child pornography, it’s Instagram. So what your doing is not against the law but if you’re feeling guilty, you can address the symptoms but you should really be addressing the source of your guilt.
Unfollow this profile and find something better to do with your time. Please.
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I hope this post was helpful.
Readers! If you have a question about anything, please contact me and Jackie and I will address it in a future post!
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