Hipster Barbie Quits the Internet, Leaving Us Without a Hero
Socality Barbie quit the Internet today. After a meteoric rise to fame and 1.3 million followers, the anti-hipster hipster said goodbye with a post that at long last identified the brilliant mind behind the satire—a Portland woman named Darby Cisneros.
Cisneros launched Socality Barbie’s Instagram account last summer. It skewered the great millennial trend of adventure photography with it’s perfectly posed and carefully curated #authentic and #socal posts. It was a huge hit; in the days after WIRED profiled the account on September 3, Cisneros saw her follows skyrocket from about 7,000 to more than 1 million. Icelandair even offered her free airfare to Iceland, which has become a hipster hotspot (she politely declined). Her sharp wit and pitch-perfect satire resonated with viewers, even if some of them didn’t always get the joke—or realize they were the butt of it. But the joke has run its course. “I had never intended on it being a long term project,” Cisneros says. “I wanted to use it as my own outlet to say things about social media that I’ve always wanted to say. I said all I wanted to say with SB.”
The photographer has repeatedly said Socality Barbie is a commentary on dishonesty in social media, where meticulously crafted photographs are presented as “real” life. She’s hardly the first to do this, of course. Just this week, Essena O’Neill, a 19-year-old Insta star with more than 600,000 followers, renamed her account Social Media Is Not Real Life and re-captioned many of her photos to describe the great pains she took to ensure her #authentic life looked wonderful. She’s since deleted the account entirely (which some say is a promotional stunt) and pointed people toward her newest online venture promoting “veganism, plant-based nutrition, environmental awareness, social issues, gender equality, controversial art.”
The fact the two retirements occurred almost simultaneously is a coincidence, but they do highlight a growing discussion about honesty online and the often extreme lengths people go to in order to present an idealized vision of “authenticity” and perfection. Cisneros, for her part, is happy to have been part of the conversation, but has nothing more to say. “The project turned out to be so much more than I ever thought it would and that is something to be proud of,” she says. “I think it’s important to know when to call it quits.”