According to an analytical report on social media marketing in 2021, more than 80% of influencers identify as women. Coincidentally, products and services that fall into categories like fashion, skincare, makeup, home appliances, and interior design are heavily marketed toward women. It is no surprise that these are the types of categories of content that generate high levels of engagement on sites that use algorithms to feed their users visual content.
Influencers are effectively a form of social advertising. Rather than advertising on a billboard to a wide-ranging demographic of people who happen to drive along a particular highway (and may not even notice the ad), partnering with a social media influencer is a modern approach to product endorsement and/or placement. Brand-partnered content is usually intended to come across as friendly and honest, with the influencer merely having to disclose that the video or post was #sponsored by said brand. However, when a viewer is already familiar with a certain influencer, they feel a deeper level of trust when viewing sponsored content than if they were to see an outright advertisement.
Browsing social media at least once a day has almost become as routine as brushing one’s teeth or tuning into the news. When someone is influenced to make a purchase after seeing it recommended by their favorite social media star, they are rarely aware that their decision was tied to the feeling of “knowing” that influencer, even if that influencer does not know them back.
A viewer who has very few real-life social connections may become attached to a particular influencer in an unknowing attempt to fill the void of isolation.
“Don’t tell my husband!” is something you’ll often hear influencers say at the beginning of a “haul”. A haul is a video that showcases recent purchases; usually, the higher the total dollar amount of all of the items of the haul, the more likely the video is to attract attention. Viewers get to experience the thrill of “unboxing”, which is all the more heightened when the items are high-end or luxury branded.
The light-hearted remark of hiding expensive purchases from one spouse can escalate into seriously troubling behavior.
“Financial infidelity is hiding financial information, financial transactions, from your partner in a situation where you have a reasonable grasp of knowing what they want to know”— University of Minnesota law professor Jill Hasday
Secretive shopping sprees may snowball into much larger sums of money that are taken from a couple’s shared funds by one spouse without the other’s knowledge. It may be considered just as damaging or even more damaging than romantic cheating or domestic violence. Financial infidelity that involves fraud or premeditated crime can lead to divorce and legal repercussions. Financial abuse usually involves the abuser restricting access to abused financial accounts and intentionally sabotaging their credit score or depleting their funds—all without consent or disclosure. Victims of financial abuse should seek a divorce lawyer or mediator in order to protect themselves during the process of legal separation.
Couples who choose to remain in a relationship together may still struggle with lingering feelings of betrayal, which require dedicated cooperation for the affected spouse to heal.