The last couple of years have seen a shift in engagement on social media. Female audiences are shifting away from solely materialistic influencers, and finding their space among the women that have provided a platform for discussion of critical thought around sex, relationships, self-awareness and intersectional feminism. Using the strengths of a range of popular social media platforms, these women have harnessed the perfect mix of education, engagement and entertainment to bust through spaces of surface level idolization.
See below a collection of 6 women to follow on social media, and see how they can enlighten you, while also bringing fierce looks, in all forms.
1. Flex Mami - @flex.mami
“The influencer we all deserve” aka Lillian Ahenkan aka Flex Mami’s signature style and attitude make her a name people can’t help but remember. Starting her career as a Sydney club DJ, the now influencer rose through the ranks as an MTV presenter, model, and now successful podcaster. She has harnessed her multiple identities, as well as being a plus size, black, second-generation immigrant, into a flawless ability to communicate and provoke. While being fresh and colorful visually, the real spice comes from her open discussion around matters of moral dilemma, taboo topics and sex and relationship. Using a cross platform approach to cultivating open and honest spaces for discussion, Flex Mami and her ‘Bobo and Flex’ podcast pal Bobo Matjila (next on our list of powerful sassy queens), address their audience directly through Instagram polls and Q and A sessions, and open up discussions around their podcast topics in their Facebook group for like-minded women (and some men).
2. Bobo Matjila - @bobo.matjila
The other half of the Bobo and Flex, Bobo Matjila describes herself as a ‘fashion philosopher’. The South African national brought up in international environments of Switzerland and the US, provides an intersectional and self-aware approach to millennial feminism. As photographer that self-styles and shoots, her professional independence and self-management reflect raw and unfiltered content and opinions that challenge her followers to analyze their own “dumb bitch decisions”, while also empowering women to think and behave true to their own morals. Utilising Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and of course her podcast with Flex Mami, the model-turned-feminist influencer moves between platforms to engage viewers in discussions around how we should be aware of when we are “trash humans.” In 2019, Bobo made the bold move to ditch her “model” Instagram account of 100k followers, in favor of a fresh start to focus on sending the right message to young women. Now, Bobo will convince you to challenge your ideas of existence and push you to think outside of your “skin suit.”
3. Florence Given - @florencegiven
At 20 years old, Artist Florence Given was named Cosmopolitan’s Woman of the Year, has fronted campaigns for Tinder, and designed tour merch for Rita Ora. Her colourful, retro and anti-patriarchal artwork featuring empowering slogans and highly Instagramable visuals pack a punch to toxic ideals, slut shaming and problematic projections of womanhood and femininity. One of her most famous quotes, featured on highly sort after T-shirt and tote bags, “Stop Raising Him, He’s Not Your Son” perfectly embodies the hardline attitude of her persona and presence on Instagram. Consciously single, Given says she wants to be that friend to tell women to “dump your boyfriend,” if he’s not adding value or building you up. Her artwork of mostly naked women–of all shapes, sizes, colors and body hair lengths–aims to highlight the importance of being your own independent self-loving women, before you try and fix a boy.
4. Arooj Aftab - @its.arooj
Arooj Aftab is the micro-influencer that is challenging an array of beauty and fashion standards. Dressing in almost exclusively menswear, the Manchester local uses her platform to raise awareness for chronic illness and disabilities. Arooj herself suffers from neurofibromatosis, a condition that causes tumours to form in the brain, spinal cord and nerves, and wishes to educate young people on acceptance and the equal treatment of those whose live their lives outside of the norm. Coining the hashtag and new project #donewithdiversity, Arooj uses illustration and thoughtful instagram captions to explain the problematic nature of forced ‘diversity’ within the fashion industry, and how placing people into a box only furthers ‘otherness’. Championing inclusivity as a tool to counteract a false sense of social progression, Arooj has been highlighted by the BBC in documentary ‘My Tumour Made Me Trendy’, as well as being awarded Best Blog 2019 by the Asian Media Awards.
5. Chidera Eggerue -@theslumflower
Her Instagram bio features the hashtag #saggyboobsmatter, perfectly emBODYing what Chidera Eggreue is all about. The author and activist began her Instagram career with a focus on urging women to go braless, no matter the size of their boobs. She has since dedicated her career to relieving women of mainstream expectations, writing three books and producing one documentary, all before the age of 25, and the #saggyboobsmatter tag has promoted thousands of women around the world to post themselves braless and thriving. Her Instagram features herself and other powerful women dressed in modern street style, mostly in looks that are affordable, accessible and environmentally friendly. Accompanied by captions that provoke the reader to consider issues of gender and race around beauty and fashion standards, her posts are a mix of empowering shots highlighting her body and sexual autonomy, and of informative mantras around subjects like ‘intentional intimacy’ (or celibacy), and self-actualisation.
6. Sisil - @Sisilism
With her sexy and aesthetically pleasing sexual education Instagram posts, Sisil aims to prepare young Indonesian people to make the right decisions when it comes to sex and relationships. Her controversial account is full of her own information packets and highlighted Q and A’s with her followers, on a range of topics from female orgasm, to STI’s, to non-monogamous relationships. With over 28 subcategories you can easily access, Sisil has crafted an account that can be your go-to hub for any sex related taboo. She promotes an open dialogue with her followers, and as a relatively small account of 51.4k followers, is accessible for one-on-one consultations. She also has a large following on YouTube, where she provides more in-depth explanations and discussion in Indonesian of any topic you can find on her Instagram. Unlike the other influencers on this list, her personal aesthetics are not a major part of her brand, and this gives her a refreshing and approachable feel that doesn’t come often on the platform.