Instagram It-Girl Turns Sex Ed Teacher: Is this Gen Z’s Dr. Ruth?

Tess Garcia 18,

High School Student, GLAM4GOOD Ambassador

Last year, a friend tagged me in a particularly provocative post on Instagram. It featured the usual, a petite young woman perched seductively on a beach, wearing nothing but string bikini bottoms. It wasn’t so different from the photos of “insta-famous” girls I was used to, or so I assumed. Though it had been posted just minutes before, the photo had already received thousands of likes. I wanted to write this girl off as just another foolish Instagram junkie using her body to get a bunch of meaningless attention. But, she proved me wrong.

“I created this because it’s everything I wish I had when I was sixteen and depressed and in high school.  No one taught me how to approach sex, how to tell a guy no, what to do if someone breaks your heart. This is what my blog is about. Judge all you want.  I’m sure you wonder how can a 20-year-old know about sex?  Because I have had sex, relationships and heartbreak. Take it or leave it.  So next time you’re feeling lonely or confused on what to do, I’m going to keep putting hours and days into finding the right answers and sharing my experiences to help you.”

Eileen Kelly is known on Instagram and Tumblr as @killerandasweetthang and a purveyor of bold, skin-baring photos that have attracted over 320k Instagram followers and with them, controversy. The baby-faced 20-year-old, who could have used her following predictably, advertising detox teas and lip-plumpers, threw her Instagram followers for a loop when she decided to use her newfound fame to launch a sexual education website.

I’ll be honest, when I first received word of Kelly’s blog, I was skeptical. What did this racy Instagram maven know about sex ed? I set out to discover why she changed her tune and invited Kelly to a phone interview for GLAM4GOOD.

She told me that that she grew up with a single dad in a house full of boys and had to learn everything, puberty-wise, on her own.

“I wasn’t comfortable enough to talk to my aunts, or even my older sister,” says Kelly, “Going through that alone and figuring it out made me want to help anyone else who has to go through that too.”

During high school, Kelly explained, she created a tumblr account where she started sharing her experiences, both sexual and otherwise, openly. Thanks to her honesty, the account quickly gained momentum. Via tumblr’s “Ask” feature, thousands of teens began coming to Kelly for advice, especially regarding sexual topics.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to make a more legitimate blog or website from that traffic that I got on my tumblr,” she says. “I get so many repetitive questions, like ‘What do I do if a boy does this?’, ‘What do you do with a urinary tract infection?’, and ‘Should I go on birth control?’. There are so many blogs and websites out there for fashion and beauty, which is awesome, but I wanted mine to focus on the stuff that doesn’t get a lot of attention from the media. Things focused on sex, but nothing erotic. Nitty-gritty sex education.”

After several visits to Kelly’s site, as well as asking her tough questions she answered easily and graciously, I can honestly say that she is now a girl that I can identify with. Her blog posts are succinct, honest, and certainly take her audience into account. While maintaining the aesthetic theme of her tumblr, Kelly manages to confront tough topics in a way that feels, well, human. Take her post entitled “Power in Vulnerability”, in which she writes, “In order to not appear weak, we pretend that things are okay even when they are not…Sharing images that defy what is expected and reveal a level of acceptance for one’s natural self can be both frightening and empowering.” Kelly is not forcing anyone to think a certain way— she is merely shedding light on significant issues faced by millions of teens.

I support Eileen Kelly’s mission. To me, she is more than a scandalous selfie; she is a role model.

“We live in a culture where the people who have the biggest followings and the most influence have little to nothing to say,” she remarks at the end of our conversation. “I think it would have been really easy for me to go that route, and only post cute little selfies without saying anything that I believe in. But, I don’t know, I feel like I have this following, and it’s not worth anything if I can’t use it for some good.”

I second that! What do you think of Kelly’s mission? Is this controversial It-Girl truly using her following to empower?

7 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    love that eileen is using her voice for good and helping other women who have questions about sex especially because she has such a large following! i know what it’s like to not have an older person to talk to other than a parent & its people like kelly who help!

  • Clarissa says:

    She may not have as much experience as her older counterparts, but Eileen knows that girls look up to her. If you ask me, she is taking advantage of that to help them in the only way she knows how. Brilliant step in the right direction.

  • Jane says:

    Eileen is young, and acknowledges that she doesn’t have as much experience as some of her older counterparts. However, she’s doing what she can to help the thousands of teens who look up to her! An effort in the right direction without a doubt

  • Sydney Schmier says:

    Such an amazing article! I had no clue about Eileen’s website before… It’s so important for women to learn about sex and a blog is the perfect way to do it! Really glad I read this article!

  • ANONYMOUS says:

    Eileen is a good role model. However she is extremely privileged, having had a lot of financial help from her wealthy father, who funded her clothing line, paid people to help code and make her blog, and funds part of her life living in nyc at only 17 when she moved to gramercy of all places. She is an AMAZING VOICE, do not get me wrong, dont discredit her, but she would be like any other 20 yr old struggling to make ends meet and afford rent. He funds most if not all her travels. YES, she makes her own money now, but she definitely does NOT live “within her means” as young as she is. Her lifestyle is lavish and she is NOT RELATABLE at all. Typical rich white girl. Most people are in college working part time to even afford to go, but she can hop in and out whenever she wants. I know she lost a parent young, but she isnt special.

  • ANONYMOUS says:

    shes cute & all, but the only reason she got so many followers on IG is cuz she was posted on “RichKidsOfInstagram”s account. i always wondered how she is always on a plane with no real job, thought she was an escort at a point but shes just a rich kid. good on her tho for using her money and fame to speak on a good topic. but wont be following another rich girl w a blog.

  • Anonymous says:

    Regardless of her privileged upbringing or socioeconomic status, I applaud Eileen for trying to educate her followers about sex. Sex education in the United States is horribly inadequate. When I went away to college,I thought I knew a lot about sex. I ended up with an STD due in part to trusting what my partner said. There needs to be more open discussion about sex and kudos to Glam 4 Good for covering this topic!

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