We’re more than two months into quarantine as we help flatten the curve to get back to life as we knew it, but I’ve been seeing some alarming stuff on my Instagram. Like many of us, I haven’t seen my friends since March since I’m practicing social distancing, but as I’m sitting in my house, I tap through Instagram stories filled with rule breakers. I’m talking about influencers traveling across the country, people attending in-person baby showers, barbecues on the lake, and college parties. Honestly, like…what the f*ck?
For me, this is personal. My sister, a NICU nurse, has self-isolated herself from her 11-year-old son since March because of this pandemic, but you’re going to go to a party because you don’t want coronavirus to ruin your social life? Ok.
NY Governor Cuomo recently said that the current rise of cases in New York City is not from essential medical staff and other workers, but rather, from people who are leaving their homes to shop, exercise, and socialize. Trust me, I don’t want to be self-quarantined any more than you do, but we have to do our part if we ever want to get the f*ck out of here. But what I don’t understand, though, is if these people are being selfish and not following social distancing rules, why would they then take a video of it and post it on their social media for everyone to see? I’d think that if you were doing something wrong, you would want to hide it, not flaunt it.
And this, my friends, is the beginning of our investigation: Why are people posting on social media and not social distancing? Many DMs later, I found some social distancing rule breakers and interviewed them, and also consulted a psychologist for her expert analysis. Let’s meet the culprits.
Since the start of the lockdowns, influencers have been in hot water over quarantine, putting out half-assed apologies on their IG stories (hi, Arielle Charnas), and that trend is not stopping. We’ve all seen the jokes about how quarantine is going to show us who’s really a natural blonde, but a number of influencers are taking that really seriously. Recently, Bachelor alums Amanda Stanton and Corinne Olympios broke quarantine to drive hundreds of miles to get their hair done, and they’re far from the only offenders. We came across one influencer, Serena Kerrigan, who posted an entire video explaining to her followers that she’s getting her roots done (still not an essential service in New York). She says “don’t come after me” at the end of this video, but people came nonetheless.
no words pic.twitter.com/4bBRH7dgJF
— gays0n (@feelinlikeclunt) May 10, 2020
Kerrigan chose to break social distancing rules because, as she explained via Instagram stories to her 56.4k followers, she “hates seeing her roots on camera.” Forget the pandemic, people dying, and families that can’t say goodbye to their loved ones, this girl’s roots are showing!
Dr. Purvi Parikh, allergist/immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, warns that the problem with meeting up with others (whether it be for a roots touch-up or to have a picnic in the park), even when following social distancing guidelines, is that “you do not know where the person has been in the last two weeks, who they have interacted with.” And while you could take certain precautions, like, as Dr. Parikh explains, asking “if they or anyone they have been in contact with has traveled, had fever, tested positive for COVID-19, or had other symptoms like a cough in the last two weeks”, she ultimately concludes, “anytime you interact with anyone, it is a potential risk.”
Kerrigan says in the video that she made sure the woman who came to do her hair had been isolating, and that they were going to wear gloves and masks and “take all the necessary precautions”. Amanda Stanton and Corinne Olympios, however, did none of that, and photographed themselves at a salon with not a single mask or glove in sight.
While neither Olympios nor Stanton outright encouraged their followers to go on an interstate quest for highlights like they did, and Kerrigan ends her video saying, “I’m not saying that you guys should do this, I just am going to do it”, the reality is that influencers can make an impact, positive or negative, on their followers with every post. While they may think that they’re only putting themselves at risk by bending the rules, they may unknowingly be swaying their followers to break social distancing rules too. This is why we can’t have nice things.
The College Senior
I want to note that no one is winning in this pandemic. We’re all making the best of this awful situation. It really sucks for college seniors who are not able to experience their last semester together or walk at graduation—these are moments they’ll never get back. But as tough as it is, it’s not an exemption to break social distancing.
Earlier this month, a group of more than 20 graduating seniors all traveled down to their college in South Carolina. Allie and her friends have been posting their last hurrah escapades, and I asked her why she was posting, knowing that the rest of the country is following quarantine guidelines and watching closely to call out those who aren’t. She tells me, “At first I didn’t post and I would get annoyed seeing my friends’ posts. I saw more and more posts of kids hanging and completely ignoring the rules. As the weeks went on, I started breaking the rules too because it made me so angry seeing everyone else having fun. We went down to school for the last two weeks because we didn’t want graduation to be taken away from us.”
Among close friends, she felt peer pressure to resume the life she had. Allie says, “I wanted to maintain my social life as we all just wanted a sense of normalcy. I felt a strange pressure to show my followers that I was having fun with our happy hours despite being in quarantine. I wanted to keep up with the quantity of content that I was used to posting before the virus.”
While Allie didn’t receive any backlash personally, she feared that people were talking behind her back. Hypocritically, she adds, “In my group chat with my close friends, we would discuss different people’s Instagram and Snapchat stories and bash them if they were not social distancing. We were definitely judging anyone who was not being ‘safe’ by our standards.”
Max’s Instagram stories consist of him and his friends playing soccer on a turf field, even after NJ parks have been shut down. He tells me that the police were called to the scene to ask them to leave on numerous occasions, but they kept returning.
While he doesn’t feel pressured to post about his illicit games, this New Jersey native tells me, “Soccer for me is a way to decompress, long before quarantine happened. For my mental state I need my escape, and if people have a problem with that I honestly don’t really care.”
Dr. Parikh says, “Soccer and other sports where there can be physical contact are especially risky, as usually people are spreading the virus more when physically exerting themselves—breathing heavier, coughing or sneezing outdoors, and from physical contact with sweat, there is potential for viral spread.” She recommends wearing a face mask while playing sports, maintaining a 6-foot distance, and if you’re meeting friends in a park, “do not share blankets—everyone will likely need their own.” But above all, she says, “I would avoid sports with close physical contact.”
With an invincible mentality, Max has no intention to stop going to the field with his friends. “If I get it, I get it. If I die, I die,” he says. “I’m not blaming anyone else. We all know the risks and potential problems that arise. I’m so sick of everyone on Instagram acting like they’re suddenly a doctor now trying to tell me how to live my life.”
What The Psychologist Says
Dr. Joanna Petrides, a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, specializes in anxiety and human behavior. She acknowledges that everyone is trying to maintain a sense of normalcy right now, and says, “These three people highlight the desire to engage in activities which energize us, lift our spirits, give us a boost in self-confidence, and help us to find comfort and balance in our lives while publishing it on social media. Unfortunately, these same activities are also putting ourselves at risk and there is a really selfish undertone to the reasoning behind it. Many of the people breaking the restrictions have stated they accept the consequences of becoming ill and were willing to take that on.”
It’s fine, I guess, to not have any regard for your own life, but that mindset conveniently ignores the real reason we social distance: to protect others. “What we’re not hearing is the awareness that they could unknowingly spread this illness with tragic effect after indulging in a seemingly minor activity,” Dr. Petrides warns.
“If enough influencers start breaking the rules or enough people post about social gatherings on social media, then people are going to think, ‘If they’re doing it, why can’t I,’ which was exactly what Allie said was her influence,” she adds. “And when this level of groupthink is present, the desire to fit in with others we relate to can lead to additional problematic decisions and inadvertent consequences of spreading infection when it could have been prevented.”
So, given the potential for blowback, why go out of your way to expose yourself breaking the rules? Dr. Petrides weighs in: “As we saw in the example of the influencer, there’s a push to not let down followers and still try to stay relevant.” She also considers, “being controversial is one way we stay on followers’ radars.”
“Lastly, there’s also a desire for attention during an isolating period like what we are currently experiencing. One way to express, demonstrate, and minimize effects of loneliness and facilitate discussion is through posting on social media and spurring reactions in others. Even if it creates negative attention towards the person posting, it still satisfies our need for attention and provides a break in the loneliness felt.”
Am I the only one who feels like we’re all in one giant group project, where some people are doing all the work to flatten the curve while others just goof off? That, and the whole “do anything for attention, even if it’s negative attention,” feels very middle school. But even though some people care more about likes, replies, and keeping up with their social media presence than potentially getting COVID-19, and a pandemic with over 100,000 deaths and counting in the United States isn’t shaking them, I did find that a lot of people are with me, doing good and following the rules while helping others however they can. Hopefully, we will continue to course-correct the rule breakers to get back to the 2020 we originally anticipated.
Images: Drew Dau, Chichi Onyekanne, United Nations COVID-19 Response / Unsplash; feelinlikeclunt / Twitter
Whether you’re a passionate sports fan, a casual observer or you can’t tell golf from basketball, if you aren’t following the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) as they dominate the Women’s World Cup like the Kardashian’s do a news cycle, then you are really missing out. Admittedly, I am both a soccer player and fan, so I was primed for obsession – but this has truly been a fun run to watch. And not just because these women are insanely talented athletes who broke U.S. and world soccer records in the first game of the tournament, or because they have mastered the art of turning goal celebrations into subtle yet magnificent shade. No, it’s been fun and obsession-worthy largely in part to one star player: Megan Rapinoe.
Obsessed yet? No, just me, cool – I’ll go on.
Before this World Cup, if I were to define my positioning along the sexuality spectrum, I would have secured my spot somewhere entirely surrounded by dick. Now – consider me officially on the hunt for the Megan Rapinoe to my Sue Bird. And I’m not the only one. Women everywhere (and the internet) are going wild for Rapinoe. If you are already on the Rapinoe bandwagon – then hello friends. (If any of you have purple hair, can sink penalty kicks in your sleep and won’t stand for the National Anthem – please dm me). And if you aren’t already on board, let me explain the reasons why you should most definitely hop on in time to watch Rapinoe and USWNT in the World Cup finals on Sunday.
1. She’s not going to the f*cking White House.
Last week, President Trump threw yet another Twitter tantrum in response to
my girlfriend Rapinoe stating that she had no interest in visiting the White House if the USWNT were to win the World Cup.
Reporter: “Are you excited about visiting the White House if you win?”
and all women who avoid people and locations where sexual assault is likely:
“I’m not going to the fucking White House.” – @mPinoe pic.twitter.com/sz1ADG2WdT
— Eight by Eight (@8by8mag) June 25, 2019
Rapinoe has been an outspoken LGBTQ rights activist and critic of the current administration, and is a former kneeler/current abstainer from singing the National Anthem before matches, so this is both not surprising and also amazing. And in true presidential fashion, Trump responded like a toddler deprived of dessert – tagging THE WRONG MEGAN RAPINOE in a rant inviting the USWNT for a visit but questioning their ability to win. And also for some reason, mentioning a decline in “Black unemployment”.
Anyone who can get under Trump’s skin like this a hero in my book – especially someone who can pull off purple hair, back to back penalty kicks, and looks like this in a bikini:
2. She almost single foot-edly carried the USWNT to the World Cup Semi-Finals.
Rapinoe scored the only four goals for the USWNT during the first two games of the knockout stage of the World Cup, beating both Spain and France – the host and second ranked team in the world. Two of these goals were on penalty kicks. If you’ve never taken a penalty kick, let me try my best to explain the stakes of a PK on the world’s largest stage: Make the penalty kick and you’re a hero, winning the game and the hearts of fans everywhere. Miss the penalty kick and your team is out of the tournament and it’s your fault. No pressure.
To have the poise, composure, and f*cking skill it must take to sink back-to-back World Cup PKs in the back of the net, and follow them up with two more goals against your biggest competitor – all while brushing off the bullying of the world’s most powerful baby man like you’re 2009 Jay-Z, it’s just, I can’t. It’s next level.
Me when I boil water and cook pasta instead of ordering delivery. pic.twitter.com/iN1gl0ZKRy
— Isaac Fitzgerald??? (@IsaacFitzgerald) June 29, 2019
3. She’s fighting for equality
Rapinoe is a loud and proud feminist and lesbian. Her sexuality is central to her identity as an athlete, and she has said you simply cannot win without gay players, “it’s science”. But she’s not just an idol for queer sports fans – she’s an activist for women’s equality. Rapinoe and the USWNT have been fighting for equal pay for years, and are currently suing U.S. Soccer, the very institution that they are playing their asses off for in the World Cup.
Members of the Women's National Team have earned about $90,000 in bonuses by getting this far in the World Cup.
If they were men, they'd have earned $550,000. https://t.co/yb2cI16yBx
— The Betches Sup (@Betches_Sup) June 30, 2019
It’s just, absurd. The USWNT scored more goals in their FIRST World Cup match than the men’s team has in EVERY World Cup run since 2006. Maybe, just maybe, they should get paid the same. Especially since U.S Soccer’s main argument – that the women bring in less money, is about as legitimate as Bran’s claim to the Iron Throne. And is in fact just, not true.
Megan to U.S. Soccer lawyers and haters everywhere:
If you’re still not convinced that Megan Rapinoe is the purple-haired goddess America needs right now, then
you can’t sit with us I guess we just have different taste in heroes. Either way, you should tune in on Sunday to watch Rapinoe and squad win their second consecutive World Cup championship – because they deserve your support and also deserve to get paid more.
Images: Giphy (4), Sports Illustrated, @IsaacFitzgerald/Twitter, @Betches_Sup/Twitter
Let’s just come right out and admit it. What we know about soccer can be summed up with “David Beckham”. And if you thought 2018 couldn’t get any worse with Trump, it turns out the U.S. has to face the worldwide humiliation of not making it into this year’s World Cup competition for the first time since 1986. The U.S. women’s national team, on the other hand, has three World Cup titles under its belt—though they are paid a lot less, but that’s a conversation for another time. On a lighter note, the World Cup gives us the opportunity to search for the next generation of soccer hotties. And a convenient side-effect is that you can sound like you know what you’re talking about while traveling abroad or impressing guys who are into soccer (and obnoxiously call it “football” even though they studied abroad one time in Barcelona for three months, six years ago). Here’s a cheat sheet of the hottest players in the 2018 World Cup to get you started.
Olivier Giroud, France
Giroud is the striker for the French National team. He has modeled just as much as he has played soccer. Giroud has been featured on the covers of Tetu and GQ, and the 6’4” 27-year-old endorses Hugo Boss and Puma. Oui oui, j’aime Olivier.
Smile ❤???? #teamgiroud #teamfangiroud #teamchelsea #familygiroud #oliviergiroud #chelseafc #chelsea #coupedumonde #victoires #giroud #OG9 #OG18 #lebest #france #equipedefrance #perfectman #bettersmile #equipedefrance #chelseateam #foot #football #teamedf #teamfoot #worldcup #follow4follow #ogpower #ogfamily #instafootball #instafoot
Gerard Pique, Spain
So what if he’s married to Shakira…
Asmir Begovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
We couldn’t locate Bosnia or Herzegovina on a map if our lives depended on it, but now we have a valid reason to do some research. Begovic is a 6’6” 28-year-old goalkeeper playing for the Bosnian National Team. On top of being gorgeous, he can speak four languages: English, French, Bosnian, and German. If that isn’t sexy, I don’t know what is.
Mats Hummels, Germany
Basically, the best thing that’s come out of Germany since beer.
Yaya Touré, Ivory Coast
Yaya Touré is a midfielder and devoted captain for the Ivory Coast National team, exemplified by his impressive build. He recently led the Ivory Coast National Team to victory in the 2015 African Cup of Nations. He’s extremely humble and charitable, shown by his major involvement in many philanthropic organizations in West Africa.
James Rodriguez, Colombia
Rodriguez is a 24-year-old striker for the Colombian National team. In the 2014 World Cup, he emerged as the top scorer of the entire South American continent. One of his goals was even awarded the best goal of the entire tournament. Rodriguez is a family man who’s been married since 2010 (sighs) and endorses Adidas and Rexona, among other brands.
Sergio Ramos, Spain
Sergio Ramos represents the Spain National Team in the World Cup. He is the proud captain of Real Madrid FC. His devotion to his career has resulted in a faultless six-pack, which I believe we can all agree to be a positive side effect.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
This guy needs no introduction at all. If you don’t know who Cristiano Ronaldo is, you just may have been living under a rock. His dedication to his performance has resulted in his beautiful physique, and Ronaldo has been topping lists of sexiest soccer players since day one.
Images: oliviergiroud_love, 3gerardpique, asmirbegovicfans, aussenrist15, yayatoureofficial, jamesrodriguez10, sergioramos, cristiano / Instagram