7 human experiences TikTok is helping to normalize
Because there's so much more there than dancing
If you open TikTok and all you see is white girls dancing, either you’re brand new to the app or you’ve found your way to the dreaded wrong side of TikTok. We don’t want to victim blame, but bestie, you get out what you put in. Work your way over to one of TikTok’s many right sides, and you’ll find an affirming place where misogyny is called out, creators with marginalized bodies and identities are celebrated, and you can learn new things daily as well as laugh your socks off. Here are just a few of the things that TikTok is helping to normalize:
1. Being neurodivergent
It’s become a running joke just how many people have figured out they’re neurodivergent because of TikTok. Hearing TikTok creators talk about their symptoms and experiences with being neurodivergent can help people who haven’t gotten a correct diagnosis realize that they may have something more going on and get proper assessment from an expert who understands how autism presents in different populations. This is particularly important in girls/women and non-binary people, for whom the symptoms of ADHD or autism may be different from the ones laid out in the diagnostic criteria.
2. Having your sexuality and/or gender identity be a work in progress
It’s totally normal to still be figuring stuff out as an adult. TikTok is full of creators who can help you learn about different sexualities and gender identities and how to navigate your way through what can be a confusing though liberating process. You can also see creators with different sexualities and gender identities who are just out there living their best lives, which is sometimes exactly what you need.
3. Having a human body
TikTok is nothing if not a place where you can hear people’s (usually hilarious) stories of pooping their pants as adults. You can also learn about other people’s experiences with chronic illness, disability, and all the other things that come with living in a meat prison. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel less alone.
4.Talking about sex and sexual health
TikTok brings you a vast array of content, from people’s worst sex fails to open conversations about periods, bladder woes, vaginal discharge, giving birth, vaginal infections and the postpartum phase. (Just make sure you take what you hear with a grain of salt if it’s just one person’s experience. We recommend @mamadoctorjones and @drjenniferlincoln for reliable, medically-accurate sexual and reproductive health info).
5. Having a hard time taking care of yourself and your space
KC Davis has blessed the internet with her videos normalizing the difficulty a lot of people (especially neurodivergent people and people depression and other mental health struggles) have with care tasks. She offers tips and advice and literally radiates love. Just trust us. She’s not the only one talking about this, but she’s a great one.
6. Expecting more from health care providers
There are tons of creators with chronic illnesses and disabilities who share their experiences on TikTok. Whether you’re able-bodied or not, there’s a lot to learn from these accounts. One thing everyone can learn something about is how to best advocate for yourself when you go see a health care provider. Here’s one person’s take on getting the care you need.
7. Doing less
We’re not saying TikTok helped inspire the Great Resignation, but it certainly didn’t hurt. Seeing people reevaluating their lives, deciding what’s important for them, and then, like, moving to a dilapidated yet cozy shack in the woods to write a book is nothing short of inspiring.
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