Social class incongruities are more apparent than ever on Instagram.
Upper-class elites set the standard for the middle-class, who inherently are expressing their insecurities by following Instagram “celebrities” in the first place. Why? Because our generation has been force fed the idea that we need to constantly be trying to fit the mold set for us by mainstream corporations.
Celebrities with millions of followers such as Kim Kardashian (66.7 million followers), Beyonce (66.9 million), and even models such as Matthew Noszka (398K Followers), have HUGE impacts on developing adults who use the Instagram app on a daily, and in most cases, hourly basis. If you don’t believe me, visit a mall this upcoming weekend and take a look around at the young adults. Do the kids still dress like they used to back in the good ‘ol days of taking selfies with a front facing camera…. ?
Companies that young adults love, such as Nike and Adidas, use Instagram celebs to wear their products, or promote their services, in a personal way. This makes the user feel as though they aren’t seeing an advertisement because it’s on a more individualized platform, however, this mode of marketing is more effective than the blatant Instagram “Sponsored” ads that pop up, out of our control. Why? Because you’re more likely to buy something from someone who’s opinion you trust, rather than a big company sending out generalized messages.
A trend that an Instagram celebrity has started that has completely taken over hair trends for women across multiple demographics is the Kardashian 4-way braid. Kim Kardashian gets away with this cultural appropriation of black hair culture because she looks mixed and is married to Kanye, HOWEVER, she is using this hair culture to attract followers, and increase fame across multiple platforms. Once Kim Kardashian posts that this is the hair of the season, people will copy her hairstyle and repost their attempts, which leads to Youtube tutorials, which leads to Twitter and Facebook posts, until it trickles it’s way out of pop culture trends for that season.
It would be nice if this shared hairstyle across many social, gender, and racial backgrounds would bring different groups of people closer together, except it actually does the opposite. These trends, polarize social classes and people participate, or refuse to participate, in order to present themselves either as:
A) Upper-class – someone who participates in trends to convey an elitist persona of doing something that is deemed beneath them. Will still copy a trend, and participate in the culture, but do it in an ironic-type way.
B) Lower-Class – someone who follows the trends and feel as though they belong to their particular group.
These distinctions are socially constructed, and Instagram displays how certain social classes consume goods or services from others to demonstrate one’s level of sophistication.