Everyone embellishes their lives on Instagram. Shots of us on vacation, at work or showing off a new outfit are "artistic" and "painfully cool". We all want to appear successful, happy and totally thoughtful and deep on our personal, social accounts. We're all guilty of trying too hard sometimes. And this brilliant parody account dubbed "Hipster Barbie" gives us a big, plastic finger in an attempt to get us to see how inauthentic our "#authentic" lives are on social media. Barbie has always been the pinnacle of perfection. Her body and look are still envied to this day. Now that big online followings are newly in-Vogue, barbie has to keep up too. Are the hip and cool personas we use to communicate online making us plastic too?
The social commentary gained from these staged photos of a barbie doll doing tragically hip things is actually profound. Just look at the hashtags, #livefolk, #liveauthentic, #adventure. It begs the question...how long did it take for her to get that photo? We all know how many failed selfies we have trapped in the depths of our iPhone camera rolls. How is that living authentically? Paying for overpriced coffees and selfie sticks in order to achieve an aloof photo like the one above makes us all realize how ridiculous some of our online habits are.
Another thing this account does well of making fun of, is our affinity to "pseudo-deep intellectual" quotes. Here Barbie boasts, "We must have adventures in order to know where we truly belong." Garbage. I'm guilty of this kind of thing too. I like to use song lyrics because I feel like they express who I am...but am I just trying too hard? That's what this account does beautifully...it makes us examine why we put so much effort into our online lives.
I was on a rooftop in Seoul, South Korea the other night, and instead of looking out and really taking in the things around me, I was asking my friend to take a picture of me looking wistfully off the roof, with the skyline in view. Was I trying to document my trip, or just trying to look cool? Look at me. I look deep, stylish and effortlessly moody. But there was a lot of effort behind this picture. Does that make me fake? I'm not sure how to answer that question, but this account has sure got me re-evaluating some things. If we were really "having adventures" and "living in the moment" we wouldn't even have our phones with us. And we sure as hell wouldn't spend all of our time editing and filtering our photos to make us look cool. We'd actually be doing these things we talk about. It's actually kind of brilliant and ironic that this parody account brings up these revelations.
We all want to present the best versions of ourselves. Whether that includes a staged espresso drink, a pretty vacation photo or a tragically hip selfie, nothing we do is without consideration. Will this picture make me look cool to my friends? Will I get a few new followers? Likes? Am I living a "hip" and "free" live that is enviable by all? Maybe those questions aren't that important, but that still doesn't alleviate the pressure to impress and fill the little holes we have with likes and comments. I am guilty of searching for approval online. Hell, look at my ridiculous pictures. I'm sure you've got some of your own. I don't exactly know how to fix this behavior. Maybe we need more confidence and spontaneity. Maybe we just need to be cool with who we really are. What I do know, is this new obsession with making ourselves cool on the internet is anything but authentic. I am just as plastic as Barbie. And so are you. But that doesn't mean we're bad people.