If you’re mad at women who take pretty Instagram pictures, please reevaluate your life immediately
Y’all need to get a life!
by Nian Hu
Lately, there's been a disturbing trend where Instagram influencers — predominantly female ones — have been receiving a barrage of harassment and hateful comments for committing the heinous crime of posting a pretty photo on Instagram.
Scarlet London, a London-based influencer with over 50,000 followers on Instagram, received death threats after posting a photo on August 31
The 24-year-old influencer posted a photo of herself sitting on a bed with a cup of tea in her hands and heart-shaped balloons in the background. A bottle of Listerine can be seen on one of her bedside drawers.
"The best of days start with smile and positive thoughts," London wrote in the caption. "And pancakes. And strawberries. And bottomless tea." At the end of her caption, she disclosed that this photo was an advertisement: "This is a paid partnership with Listerine."
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The best of days start with a smile and positive thoughts. And pancakes. And strawberries. And bottomless tea. My morning routine is now live on YouTube – and while I don't show you my real bed hair (trust me, it's not pretty), I do give you a little insight into how I start my day in a positive way. Head over to my stories for a swipe up link – and let me know what you think! It features my morning habit of rinsing with Listerine Advanced White to help whiten my teeth. @listerineukireland #BringOutTheBold | This is a paid partnership with Listerine.
The photo is remarkably innocuous and wholesome. I mean, the caption is literally about smiles and positive thoughts.
And yet, after she posted this photo, London began receiving a flurry of bullying and criticism. People called her an "idiot" with no talent, said that her photo was "ridiculous and hella FAKE," accused her of making others "feel inadequate," and teased her for being alone because "she has bad breath."
In particular, people accused her of being a bad role model for young girls. "It's images like this that give young girls false impressions of life and unrealistic expectations of how they expect to be treated," one person commented.
"Unrealistic staged photos like this are just as bad as Photoshopped models in magazines," another said. "It sells a false, unobtainable image to impressionable young people. You can refer to yourself as a poor, bullied 'young girl' all you like, but if you're going to effectively sell products to your followers, your methods are going to come under criticism just like other brands are criticised with their advertising is seen as inappropriate or damaging."
In fact, people have even given her explicit death threats. London told Femail, "Many to the effect that I'm a danger to young women and should suffer, I should be stopped, I should suffocate on those balloons, I should kill myself because of how pathetic I am."
Harimao Lee, a Hong Kong-based Instagram influencer with over 131,000 followers, also received backlash after posting this photo on a plane
Unfortunately, London is far from the only woman who has received harsh criticism for posting pretty photos.
Lee, another female influencer with a large following on Instagram, has recently come under fire for posting a photo of herself on an airplane wearing a white dress with a string of fairy lights strewn across her body. Many people accused her of being a "selfish bitch" and "attention seeking sponge."
"This is ridiculous!" one commenter wrote. "This sort of staged nonsense is a joke. Nobody travels like this!!"
Others were even more vehement in their criticism. "This photo is absolute fucking bullshit," another said. "I'm a fucking pilot, this shit does NOT EXIST maybe inside your stupid little brain IDIOT !!!!"
Instagram influencers are selling a fantasy, not an accurate reflection of reality
Look, nobody is following Instagram influencers to see blurry sepia-filtered photos of a person dressed in sweatpants sitting in a cubicle at work, downing a cup of coffee on their morning commute, or binge-watching Netflix at 2 in the morning.
No, we follow Instagram influencers to get a much-needed reprieve from reality. We all know that real life sucks — it isn't pretty, it isn't glamorous, and it definitely doesn't involve waking up in a bed with heart-shaped balloons or riding on an airplane in a ball gown.
So we turn to Instagram and scroll through brightly-colored photos of beautiful and well-dressed people traveling to exotic destinations, eating delicious food, flying around in private jets, cruising about on yachts in Croatia, and living a lifestyle that only exists in most of our imaginations. For a few minutes, we are able to briefly escape from the mundanity of our everyday lives.
And really, they're all one big advertisement
Another thing that people seem to forget is that Instagram influencers aren't normal people. For many of them, this is their full-time job. Influencers get paid serious bucks to post these pretty photos. For example, both London's and Lee's photos were sponsored by Listerine and Cathay Pacific respectively.
So their photos aren't just normal photos that they're posting for the heck of it — they're literally advertisements. And do you really think Listerine is going to pay someone to post a dimly-lit, close-up selfie of themselves gargling? Of course not!
We don't expect the advertisements we see on TV or in magazines to be "realistic" — after all, when was the last time you inserted a tampon and started prancing through a field of daisies in celebration? Or the last time you shaved your already hairless legs?
Being an influencer is work — or else we'd all get paid for posting photos of ourselves posing with a Listerine bottle. Influencers have to invest significant time and effort into planning photoshoots, getting proper lighting, bringing props, and editing their photos with professional software. Of course their photos are going to look staged — they ARE staged and carefully planned.
Most of the vitriol is aimed at female influencers
Male influencers also post some pretty ridiculous, obviously staged, and unrealistic photos. Just look at this photo that Insta-famous misogynist Dan Bilzerian posted. How on earth is that supposed to be realistic? It's so clearly just a fantasy that caters to straight dudes.
It's also worth mentioning that Bilzerian's photos are often aggressively misogynistic and degrading of women. He is often seen posing with a harem of naked and barely-dressed women and treating them as literal objects — such as a table for his cannabis cup.
And yet, it's young female bloggers like Scarlet London who are receiving death threats for not being a "good role model for girls" just because she posts photos of herself sitting on a bed with heart-shaped balloons. The double standard is incredibly telling, and it reflects a larger societal tendency to crucify and shame women for doing things that men can do with no social repercussions.
Y'all need to stop getting so mad at women for posting pretty photos on the 'gram and getting paid. It doesn't just reek of misogyny and double standards — it also shows that you're a pretty sad and jealous person who needs to get a life!