Lifestyle - April 10, 2018

The Instagram Uniform ~ It Doesn’t Fit Me

the Instagram uniform

 

If you’re not white, toned and dripping in newly-purchased #ootd finesse, you’re not coming in.

I’m restless with Instagram right now.

If I were a toddler sat crossed legged in assembly, I’d be scraping my bum along the floor, miming the words to Magic Penny and picking my nose.

No, you go too far.

Maybe I’ve just consumed too much of the same thing and now I’m an outfit of the day diabetic. I could just be bloated on flower wall cafes, smizing doughnut shots and ‘dying over that bag’ comments.

You’re sure you’re dying are you, hun?

Shakespeare used ‘dying’ as code for having an orgasm but I’m pretty sure I’ve neither passed over or orgasmed over a basket bag before.

Nor do I remember running down a white corridor in a baggy white shirt and perfectly dishevelled hair (Britney Spears Everytime style), all the while looking down on the bastard basket bag that killed me. Amen.

Perhaps I just haven’t seen a bag worth dying over yet. Or could it be that bags just aren’t what set my loins on fire?

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic. I post fashion content, outfit posts and curated flat lays as much as the next person but lately, I’ve consumed so much of the same thing: the cafes, the pastel houses, the stripy jumper and co, that I feel completely disconnected from it all.

Kinda like when you play a song over and over again when you first hear it and then get sick of it. Never Enough  ~Greatest Showman, I’m looking at YOU.

I’m stumbling around like Bambi let loose in Bershka and I don’t feel like I belong here.

Vix Meldrew spoke about the forced nature of blogging and Instagramming (read her thoughts here) and I’m so glad she addressed this because it made me realise this sentiment might be a wider issue.

Mandatory blog squads, engagement pods, massaging traditional beauty standards – I find it all a bit unsavoury. I know it’s a game of trying to beat the algorithm (man even that word makes me do a sicky burp), but at what cost?

Blogs aren’t even necessary anymore, commentary takes too long: an emoji and a Brazilian cut bikini is all you need.

Even relatability isn’t safe. People want a slice of that too and now, no one knows who actually did have their skirt stuck in their knickers while queuing at the post office or who just saw it on someone else’s Instagram and thought, huh, that’ll make me seem like a good time girl. I’ll pinch that one.

I’ve always pored over my captions and I pride myself on what I create in that space under a photo because that’s my little thing.

If I get a caption-related comment, that means far more to me than a passing observation about my hair, as much as my dandruff and deprived balayage appreciate a pick-me-up every now and again.

I look forward to yakking away on Stories for an hour each day because I feel like I owe the small audience I do have, a chance to see me: the uglier, more relatable (hopefully) me.

the Instagram uniform

I love the freedom of a goofy chat to camera simply because, give or take a few terrible filters, it enables approachability to reign supreme.

So maybe the question is this: is it the taste for commercial success that’s doing our creativity a disservice? Is the idea of ending up on the discover page sabotaging what we really want to post about?

And when does a social strategy blur into dirty tactics disguised as authentic praise?

Right now, I feel like my Instagram feed is the equivalent of turning up to school in your uniform when it’s a mufti day. Oh and you’ve also got nits, so no one wants to play with you.

How the fuck do you navigate this microcosm when you’re not a white, size 8 female with perfectly visible pointy nipples and a palm tree in every third photo?

It’s damaging because it perpetuates the idea that how visible, successful and accepted you are relies exclusively on how closely you fill this wonderfully edited aesthetic criteria.

I know there’s certain things I could do to increase the engagement on my posts *ahem, get a dog or get naked or both*

I posted a photo of a glimpse of my shoulder the other day and bejesus, the comments came flying in, no wonder women are readily rolling around in their undies underneath a ring light on a Sunday afternoon. It’s a no brainer.

I hold my hands up, I’ve visited Instagramable cafes and paid £8 for a cupcake at Peggy Porschen because I thought that’s what I needed to do in order to fit in and sadly, that photo is still one of my most liked ever.

But it didn’t feel good because a) when I went there I was crowded by private schooled Belgravia kids with identical bowl cuts and although they were very well spoken kids, they still crowded me.

And b) I only did it because it’s what everyone else was doing.

The cupcake wasn’t even that good and if you really want transparency, I secretly fed some of it to a sausage dog under my table. Probably killed it a tiny bit.

I’m usually pretty good at swerving the accounts that are going to make me feel shit but lately, I too have felt like I’m not good enough to be here. I’m struggling to see where my place is in the underboob and full upper lip girlband.

*she doesn’t even go here!* ~ that’s a Damien, Mean Girls reference btw.

And it’s not about appearances alone, it’s about the contents; the doing it for the gram mentality.

At some point, you have to weigh up what’s more important to you vs the formula that’s working for others. I want people to identify the ‘me’ in my content, not confuse me with other women doing the Peggy P thing way better than I ever could.

I want to give (my) real life the mic.

I don’t know what the solution is. I still absolutely love picking up the camera, creating content for both my blog and my Instagram feed but I’m itching to try something new and discover more from other creators, too.

Social media used to be revolutionary. It used to be a diverse and dynamic space but now it’s becoming a space where the carbon copy thrives.

It’s ok to lose your way sometimes but if there’s one thing I’m *learning* (present continuous tense) it’s that it’s really not worth watering down who you are and what you’re good at.

I’m happy with the content I produce and even though I won’t be reposted by Missguided anytime soon, that’s ok. I’m not offended. A babe of Missguided I am not.

I’m a babe of My Own Guidance. See what I did there, did ya did ya?

No, I’m certainly not 21 anymore and I’m definitely not willing to dedicate every waking hour to commenting on other people’s photos for the sake of driving my own following. I’ve got the final episode of Marcella to watch and a healthy food shop to avoid.

Love you bye.

lareese-logo-01


  • I could kiss you and buy you a cocktail….without an umbrella. Maybe its maturity or something but I don’t fit into the white and size 8 narrative because I’m neither. Maybe its time for more creativity….more being ourselves? Maybe that’s the solution?
    You just got yourself a new subscriber x

    http://www.majeang.com

  • I (probably like many others!) came across your blog today from Sarah
    Disastersofathirtysomething’s Instagram, and I have a new fave blog to
    add to my list. Brb gonna go cruise through your archives having a good
    old nosey. This post resonated with me on many levels – I actually
    wrote a blog post recently on why some places no longer appeal to me
    whatsoever – the Peggy Porschen cafe hotspots being one of them. It’s
    actually ridiculous how quickly places can become overhyped on Instagram
    – I mean fair enough hundreds of people will be taking photos of the
    Colosseum or Tower Bridge, but queues upon queues to take the same pic
    of a cafe? Deary me.

    Just to offer a slightly different view on some of the points you
    made – believe me when I say that being a 20 year old, white, size 8
    model does not make Instagram automatically easy. I wish!! Ha. I’d be
    cruising at a cushty 100K if that was the case, and that’s a longgg way
    off. For some it might be the winning formula, and I can totally see
    what you mean about the majority of huge accounts fitting this
    demographic, but I think in some cases it can actually go against you.
    Like you, a caption related comment means far more to me than a ‘fab
    hair!’, but as a model, Instagram is essentially your portfolio so it’s
    important to post the glam studio shots on there too. Which is why I
    try to keep my captions super real, and make the effort to comment on
    others, interact, and reply to all my own comments. Obviously because I
    just want to – I’ve been blogging 4x longer than modelling, and the
    community aspect has always been my favourite part. However, the flip
    side is that I also have an awful lot of assumptions made about me. I’m
    a full time
    physics student, but because I post photos in my underwear, the
    assumption is that I’m vapid and interested in little more than getting
    my kit off ‘for the gram’. People assume ‘it’s easy for you, you’re a
    white size 8 girl’, and therefore don’t help you out, or read the post
    you spent hours writing. And the outcome is that I’ve been stagnating
    on Instagram for ages (for many of the same reasons as everyone else I’m
    sure, too). I’ve worked as a fit model for Missguided many times, and
    did it help me get a foot in the door to become a #babeofMissguided?
    Did it heck.

    I’m rambling on now so will wrap this up, but basically just wanted
    to say A) I love your blog, for your writing AND photos, and B) fitting
    the ‘Instagram stereotype’ really is a double edged sword!

    Lily Kate x
    jolihouse.com


April 10, 2018

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