Highly Educated Women are Leaving Corporate Life to Cook and Clean On Social Media

The evolving landscape of career opportunities for some women in the 21st century unfolds in unexpected ways, as illustrated by the contrasting journeys of highly educated and accomplished women like Emily Mariko and Hannah Neeleman. TikTok’er caroclaireburkeee provides insights on why she believes some educated women are choosing an influencer life over working for a big company. 

TikTok’er Discusses Educational Background vs. Career Trajectory

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Emily Mariko’s transition from Columbia to Meta and Hannah Nealman’s shift from Juilliard to finding success as influencers highlights unconventional routes that challenge conventional notions of success tied to prestigious educational backgrounds. This raises questions about the correlation between education and the nature of career opportunities in the contemporary economy. 

@caroclaireburkeee Cool cool cool #fyp ♬ original sound – Caro 🫶🏼

Influencer Culture

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Caroclaireburkeee says “Some of the smartest women of our generation are using their minds to get pregnant, cook and share it in a curated fashion online.” The rise of influencers challenges traditional career paths, exemplified by Emily’s decision to film herself cooking and Hannah’s exploration of an online presence post-arts education. This points to unconventional yet lucrative avenues in the digital age.

Quality of Life Considerations

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Acknowledging arguments for a better quality of life as an influencer invites reflection on the evolving definition of fulfillment and success. Autonomy, running a business, influencing others, and accumulating wealth paint a picture of a different, yet valid, professional life.

Cultural Context of Online Domestic Labor

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The juxtaposition of Emily’s and Hannah’s backgrounds reveals the intriguing cultural context surrounding online domestic labor. The engagement of highly intelligent women in activities associated with traditional gender roles sparks a conversation about societal expectations and cultural norms.

Capitalism, Patriarchy, and White Supremacy

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Carocalireburkee says in her video “Don’t you find it interesting though from the perspective of capitalism and patriarchy, and white supremacy and all that fun stuff that in 2024 the most profitable business opportunity for women, even women of color is to cosplay a 1950s white female homemaker.” The profitability of cosplaying a 1950s white female homemaker as an influencer is intertwined with these larger societal issues and unveils systemic factors shaping career opportunities for women.

How They Make Their Money

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The dynamics of influencer culture shows the significant power these individuals hold in shaping perceptions and influencing consumer behavior. Emily and Hannah, as influencers, not only thrive in the digital realm but also drive the market for homemaking products through affiliate and brand deals.

Are they Selling an Unattainable Ideal?

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The influencer business model involves selling an idealized version of domesticity. Companies leverage influencers’ reputations and followings to sell a dream that the majority of their audience may never achieve, contributing to a cycle of unattainable expectations.

Structural, Regulatory, and Societal Failures for Women

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Part two of the equation points to structural, regulatory, and societal failures for women that contribute to the appeal of influencer culture. These failures underscore how various industries, including social media, capitalize on gaps and challenges faced by women.

Social Media as a Mirror of Society

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Social media serves as a reflection of society, magnifying existing inequalities and challenges faced by women. It becomes a crucial arena for discussions on gender roles, expectations, and opportunities, both perpetuating and confronting systemic issues.

Empowerment or Reinforcement of Gender Norms?

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Despite influencers perceiving their roles as empowering, it’s essential to assess whether their activities inadvertently reinforce gender norms and stereotypes. Does the influencer culture challenge or conform to societal expectations regarding women’s roles in the domestic sphere?

The TikTok Community Responds

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One commenter who agreed with the video’s analysis received over 5,000 likes for saying “Omg this! I’ve been trying to articulate why I dislike Emily Mariko’s content and this is why- she plays to the patriarchy. Look, I want women to get that bag but I hate that we have to do it like.”

More commenters expressed their disappointment with these modern influencer women displaying their domestic skills online:

“I saw the greatest minds of our generation making salmon rice with ice cubes.”

“Yes. It reinforces the fact that as a woman in the end you will only achieve real success if you breed & homemake.”

Should We View Influencers as Entrepreneurs?

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Another Columbia graduate turned influencer like Mariko commented that her education gave her the tools to be successful in any career. “I went to Columbia and worked at meta and other FANG (Facebook/META, Amazon, Netflix and Google) companies, and I’m also an influencer. I think you’re right but also it’s just business to us. That’s what we learn at Ivy’s and FANG. The goal is a personal brand that you can use to make money in any way. Meta and Google and even influencing is actually not the end goal. It’s a stepping stone to business ownership and wealth/status building.”

Another reader chimed in: “Stanford grad & former Meta employee turned creator here! I think in many ways joining the creator economy is just an avenue for entrepreneurship.”

Some Women Dislike the Grind

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Many commenters argued that the grind and corporate life just isn’t for everyone and it’s perfectly fine to leave it to pursue other options. Especially something like the influencer life that allows you flexibility and better quality of life. 

“But why is working for Meta or in the tech field more “rewarding”? Maybe people don’t want to work in what they studied or started off in.”

“Insanely competitive Ivy League curriculums and 70hr tech start ups aren’t cool anymore… the ultimate goal is personal freedom which sadly,. Influencers have and others don’t.”

“I work in IT, but honestly all I want to do now is cook, clean, care for my home and create a beautiful space.”

Read More: Girls Can Grill Too, So Why Don’t They?

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Women have made great strides in climbing the corporate ladder and breaking glass ceilings. But there is still one stubborn place where gender parity escapes them: the backyard barbecue.

Girls Can Grill Too, So Why Don’t They?

Popular Meals in the 1960s Families Had For Dinner

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In the 1960s, the role of the housewife was still primarily centered around homemaking and cooking. In many households, the housewife was responsible for preparing meals for her family, often using simple ingredients and traditional recipes. Though many women were interested in making convenient meals, Julia Child’s famous cookbook released in 1961, Mastering the Art of French Cooking hit the stores and was also a major influence. Here are some of the most popular meals a homemaker would cook in the 1960s and many of them remain popular today.

Popular Meals in the 1960s Families Had For Dinner