Paper Magazine recently published an article where they used an algorithm to find out what the “Ideal Instagram Influencer looks like.”
Because of Instagram’s growing popularity as a moneymaker for users, the ‘influencer’ career path is increasingly possible.
The algorithm takes into account the platform’s top 100 users and gives us information on their demographics as well as their reach and general overlapping behavior and interests.
Physically, however, the ideal Instagram influencer is distinctly a young white woman with green eyes, full lips and defined brows.
If the top 100 influencers on Instagram were combined into one person, this is what they would look like: https://t.co/gbfpPEk6Lx
— PAPER Magazine (@papermagazine) July 26, 2019
It’s important to note that the study was not limited to the U.S. It was worldwide. young How do white women who speak English (and are usually American) still win in the lottery of media personalities?
The actual average person in the world is a person of color (an Asian person to be exact), that is sometimes male and sometimes female.
This poses an alarming dilemma. If this is what the ‘ideal’ (not average) influencer looks like, it alienates and subjugates every person who does not fit into this image.
Most importantly, this tells those who consume social media, like Instagram that the height of popularity, success and beauty is white, female, and young.
holy cow, I just realized how much the Instagram influencer ideal of today parallels the Gibson Girl ideal of the early 20th century. pic.twitter.com/hYLAicTlZa
— Chappell Ellison ಥᴗಥ ᵗʰⁱˢ ⁱˢ ᶠⁱⁿᵉ (@ChappellTracker) September 29, 2018
Of course, this is not new. The politics of reality have informed us that being white translates into success and integrity.
However, our belief system that the internet has created a level playing field for all those who don’t fit into those demographics, crumbles quickly when we face this study.
Thinking that because the internet is supposedly based on a democratic ideal of opportunity, that worldwide politics will not have a hand it is wildly inaccurate.
It sets us up for failure. It’s no wonder #OscarsSoWhite and #EmmysSoWhite and #GrammysSoWhite have been trending lately.
We are not in a post-racial world.
Young people who live on the internet will go in thinking that it’s an equal playing field but it’s not. Those who succeed are still increasingly disproportionately the same people who have been in power for centuries.
It’s also dangerous to think that these politics based on racial and ethnic subjugation will not play a large role in our future. Because the greatest trick the devil ever accomplished was convincing the world he didn’t exist.