I am not snooty at all about hipsterness, I slap as many filters on my instagram as I can, because I have long been deprived of the flavours of Crema, Valencia, X-Pro and Hefe… and now I want my fill. If you don’t like my feed, get off the train. I guess that makes me “not-a hipster”? Socality Barbie is an instagram account created by an anonymous Portland (America’s hipsterville) wedding photographer to mock the representation of hipster culture on social media. Apparently.
Look, as much as hipsters hate the mainstream, and are now paddling on it, this is just another case of history repeating itself. The punks in the 80’s were anti-fashion, they ripped up designed clothing in a refusal to be represented by another entity. They wanted freedom to live by their own style, to create their own identity and we all know how the story ended. The fashion industry embraced anti-fashion and made it it’s minion. After that, everyone could buy designer ripped jeans instead of having to rip a pair of preppy jeans that mum had got them. The fun/ exclusivity of the rebellion ran out. Punk became mainstream. Now hipster has become mainstream. We are all so surprised that the group wanted in.
Back to Barbie. Wired‘s Taylor Glascock published his admiration for the Instagram account and then other articles popped up like corn in a hot pan. Each writer basically rephrasing, paraphrasing and regurgitating Glascock’s musings in somewhat uninspired articles of their own. How mainstream we’ve all become, how ironic the hashtag live authentic has become and how all of our Instagram feeds are so annoyingly similar. Urgh! We’re all SUCH hipsters!
What I did find interesting is that very few addressed the blindingly pale elephant in the room. (It was almost as if all the spin-off articles never had a good look at the material they were analyzing. I suspect a quick scroll and a facebook share did the job.) Socality. Yes yes, Barbie represents mass production, yes yes and non-authenticity and so on and so forth, but the Socality portion goes widely under-commented. Why is that? Socality Barbie is not only a commentary on hipster on-line culture but more obviously it is very deliberate commentary on the Socality movement specifically. “Anonymous” (typing out her whole mysterious spiel bores me) has given us a few giant clues. Not only does she include christian content and blessed hashtags, but most of her images are predominantly parodied versions of those that appear on the Socality instagram feed. Well Socality, whether you like it or not, the two of you are now very much involved.
Is the real argument here not a comment on the lack of Authenticity in how the christian lifestyle is represented in social media? I am not arguing whether this claim is legitimate or not, so spare me the hashtagoffended comments. In fact, I have a tendency to agree to some extent. At the same time, though, why are we so surprised by our group behaviour? Also is there not some authenticity in representing something in our public image that we associate with or believe in? This idea is old. Almodovar adressed the concept of authenticity versus performance and representation in Agrado’s monologue on Authenticity in his 1999 film, Todo Sobre mi Madre.
I think the mass following of this account is just another form of the same thing it so much disapproves of, although its not clear to me whether Anonymous-girl, Socality Barbie or Taylor Glascock is the real #socialmediahero here.
My solution? Follow only yourself on Instagram, publish your selfies in a hidden folder, don’t wear anything anyone else made, and christians…get off the internet.
Images are not my property. Sourced from Instagram, click on the image to be redirected to the source.