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Inspiration vs. Aspiration: what does it mean to influence young girls?

On average, a young person checks their phone over 130 times a day (I know, yikes), but this number is even higher for young women who keep up with influencers. In an age where girls turn to the internet for almost everything, beauty, health, and fashion influencers should aim to be inspirational rather than aspirational. This fine-line is tricky to navigate when you’re trying to sell products and earn money, but it’s important to sacrifice a few those sales for the well-being of young women everywhere who are just getting to know their bodies, passions, and goals.

Aspiration is good in small doses. It’s important to motivate followers to be ambitious and achieve the success and ‘nice things’ that influencers have, but it’s more important to encourage audiences to do what works for them if they can’t have what you have. Influencers, ideally, would not only encourage their followers to get XX Gym Membership, but highlight the acceptability of going to your local (sometimes more affordable) gym.

While influencer marketing is a business, it’s also a crucial platform to encourage wellness and whatever works for each person. Aspiration often ends in disappointment or dissatisfaction, while inspiration leads people to live a life that keeps them as healthy and happy as having that XX Gym membership.

Every influencer has their own communication style, but for the sake of raising a confident, strong generation of women, we need to pay closer attention to the messages. Let’s sell a product, but let’s also sell acceptance and encouragement. With every brand-influencer deal closed, both parties should be thinking about how they can say “it would be awesome if you could support this product, but if not, find something that makes you feel just as good!”

Influencers have the power to change the narrative of the industry, to make it more inclusive and accepting of the very people who keep it afloat. That responsibility must be cherished and wielded to create a strong and confident generation of women who not only want better for themselves but who can also feel accepted and satisfied with what they have access to. In the coming years, a crucial question for the industry will be how to maneuver between business and making the world a more uplifting and understanding space.

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