The world is a stage, and some American mums are deeply aware of it. They perceive their kids as dolls, dressing them up in uptight suits, sky-blue shirts, and polished brown shoes. Some have even gone a step further and realised they should look exactly like the models in magazines. But what is the point of just dressing them up if no one is able to see them?
Luckily, social media was invented. Snapping at least twenty photos a day has become a common thing, and mums are now able to show every single move their kids make. After Facebook lost its power, Instagram grew large, and the potential for creating perfect photos of their lovely children was discovered. The question that arose was how to make their kids slightly more interesting than all the others kids playing in backyards or climbing trees.
What is it, then, that people on Instagram like to see? Perfectly staged photos of perfect looking people. So what do you do to get the attention you want? You recreate a famous photo, but make it even better with a cute version of your kid on it.
The first stage means you have to search for a photo of a well-dressed model, if possible a picture of Ryan Gosling. Then you have to plan out a weekly trip to a kids’ department store, find a very similar, if not identical, outfit in a smaller size, and dress up your kid exactly like the model in the photo. Similar shoes, trousers and shirts, belts, even bracelet and sunglasses. Everything has to be imitated perfectly.
The second stage means explaining to the kid how to assume the same pose, how to put his right hand through his hair, his left hand on his waist, and reproduce the same facial expressions as the male model in the photo. When the pose is identical, mum can finally start to take photos. Lots of photos. For as long as it takes for the photo to be identical to the photo of Ryan Gosling.
The third and final stage is posting a photo of Ryan and the kid impersonator on Instagram and waiting for over 250.000 followers to press the heart-shaped buttons on their phones, leaving comments such as “Awww cute” and “Do Ronaldo next!”. Because a photo a week is not enough, and the public will be coming back for more, so mum will have to start planning the next dress up.
Another extreme to foist upon your kids to is to find them friends who also look adorable and turn their young years into an endless fashion show. Comfortable knickers and plain cotton dresses are not allowed anymore, because it’s now the latest fashion trend from the world of adults that will create huge groups of followers on Instagram profiles.
Kids on Istagram are fashionable trend-setters, and we definitely don’t want to see them in different roles anymore. According to Instagram, some of the most influential kids in the world of style are:
Behind a #ministylehacker Instagram account are two, fast-growing boys whose mother has made them into a big attraction. She has made them famous by putting them on the “Most stylish kids on Instagram” list, and she has raised their self-confidence to a whole new level. All they have to do is look pretty and embody someone else. What their mother probably doesn’t know is that these boys will have a major problem becoming exactly who they want to be, because they will be defining themselves only according to the perfectly staged photos of their male model counterparts. They have been taught how to behave, how to pose, how to dress to impress, and they have been taught how not to be who they are.
Another famous Instagram account with almost half a million followers is #foreverandforava. Five-year-old Ever and Ava are so called “dancers and besties” in matching swimsuits, crowns on their heads and Louis Vuitton bags in their hands. Their mums change their clothes at least two times a day and make them pose in different settings whenever possible.
On the outside these two girls seem like the happiest kids in the whole world, and it has become completely natural for them to plan their whole day just around their style and dress-up occasions. But does this lead to seeking constant attention and engaging in condescending behaviour towards other children? Scrolling through their Instagram account, you quickly notice that it seldom happens that they can be spontaneous and exactly who they want to be.
#2yungkings aren’t perceived as young when you check their Instagram profiles. Twins, wearing suits, ironed shirts, and scarves tightly wrapped around their necks, seem like they just entered the business world on Wall Street. Comfortable sweatpants and T-shirts with a simple image aren’t something their mum would dress them in, especially not after naming them Two Young Kings on their Instagram profile.
Seriously, when did the world stop allowing kids to be just kids? It must have started with putting them in school at the age of four, turning their free time into well-chosen activities to make them knowledgeable and wise. On the other hand, their parents are pushing them to further extremes, straight into the trap of consumerism, full of superficial things and images, through which these kids will define themselves in the future.
They will grow up with the perception that their popularity is measured with the number of likes, red-heart buttons, and the goal of at least a hundred comments. Their childhood trips will be remembered as Sundays at department stores, their most-used words will be ‘matching style’, ’fashion’ and ‘posing’. Free goods from brands that are looking for Instagram influencers will become obvious to them, and parents with cameras in their hands will become the memories of their childhood.
The real problem is, all of this has been taken for granted, and their childhood in sweatpants and comfortable playsuits never really existed. Instead of trying to show their kids’ individuality, somewhere along the way attention-seeking parents started creating copy cats. All out of their desire to create stylish and fashionably outstanding individuals.
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