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August 18, 2022

The de-Aestheticizing of Instagram

Written by Zoe Jurman, HJ-PR Intern

During the age of the Coronavirus, with everyone being stuck at home and social distancing, Instagram aesthetics took a quick turn from lavish lifestyles to cozy, at-home aesthetics. Then, Tiktok began to take over and people started caring less and less about looking absolutely perfect on social media. Girls no longer posted in makeup every day, and fans saw glimpses into the real lives of social media influencers. Yet, Instagram stayed in the dust. There was still this air of glitz, glamor, and perfection. The need to show the world the absolute perfect life. When going out for drinks with friends, the goal was to get the perfect picture for Instagram, not having a good time. 

Instagram then tried to push the hashtag, #makeinstagramcasualagain where the goal was to get people posting as they do on Tiktok. Blurry pictures, less editing, and stupid pictures of friends showed up on everyone’s feed. But yet, it still felt calculated. Celebrities who were “making Instagram casual” were still wearing skin-tight clothing and wearing makeup in every picture. Influencers were still running skin-care ads wearing full glam hair and makeup. The only people truly being casual were everyday people, but there was still this sense of bragging that came with it. It was almost like people used “casual” to mean “my everyday life is better than yours.” Every slide in the casual photo dumps is calculated to create the perfect aesthetic. Captionless pictures or fit pics even create this guise of being casual, or just dropping random pictures because why not, but why not is not casual.  

Now, Instagram is constantly in a battle with TikTok to create the perfect glimpse into people’s lives, and TikTok is winning. And, the introduction of BeReal as a social media platform is only hurting Instagram more. The whole idea of BeReal is to combat the fake-ness of social media, and many people have coined the term “BeFake” when people post late on BeReal. 

While Instagram is not going anywhere, Instagram influencers and celebrities will always control what is and is not okay to post. The de-aestheticizing of Instagram must happen from them. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who recently posted a picture of her feet pressed against Pete Davidson’s chest, while they may have an influence on trends, will never go fully casual or change the way people post. Micro-influencers need to begin the change towards normalizing acne, not looking absolutely perfect in every picture, and being open and honest about editing and using filters. This is because Instagram affects everyone. It has caused young girls to grow up faster, thinking that when they are in middle school they need to look like adults. 

In order for Instagram to truly combat its falling numbers and failures in social media races with TikTok, it is up to Instagram influencers to normalize making Instagram TRULY casual. No more facetune, or high levels of editing. Not only will we see improvements in the mental health of social-media users everywhere, but it will allow children and teenagers to be kids again and live their lives outside of social media. 

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