Beyond the #OOTDS- Influencers and Politics

When it became clear who had won the US election, many influencers I follow shared their joy at the outcome, particularly reflecting on the significance of the first female Vice President. Yet, as the dust settled, many shared messages criticising them for being open about their political views- complaining that they should stick to fashion. One influencer lost 400 followers after sharing her joy at having someone in the White House who looked like her. Many influencers chose not to express their feelings after the election, fearing an exodus of angry followers.

It’s easy to see Instagram as a place of escapism, where you can avoid the sobering news stories in favour of pastel jumpers and intricately decorated cupcakes. However, when one makes a living from Instagram, it can be difficult to focus on content when you have strong feelings about current events. In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, many influencers took a break from their normal content, sharing that they found it difficult to pretend to be upbeat when current events were so tragic. While I initially wanted Instagram to remain an escape, I found solace knowing I wasn't the only one feeling hopeless at the state of the world.

While Black Lives Matter is hardly a political statement, it has sadly become politicised, resulting in criticism towards those who express their support. However, the way social media platforms like Instagram furthered the movement highlights the importance of speaking out. Social media became a way to publicise protests, share information about key historical events like the Bristol bus boycott and spread petitions- the petition calling for justice for George Floyd became the most signed of all time. A live stream by two YouTubers even raised hundreds of pounds for Floyd’s family-  which just goes to show what change can come from social media. 

Influencers who speak out about current events are often told to stay in their lane, but the content they create is just one aspect of their personalities. I believe Amanda Seales said it best: 'You cannot enjoy the rhythm and ignore the blues.'