Wednesday, 30 September 2015

barbie goes to paris

b e h i n d  t h e  s c e n e s

If you're not on Instagram, there's a big chance this post won't make much sense to you & that's really not all that bad for you. That means you're probably not trespassing by running into strangers' courtyards, taking pictures of your feet, floors & coffee cups, styling your food & standing on a chair in order to get the right shot, asking your kids or people around you to go stand there, run by, jump & a whole lot of other strange ideas. These are just a few of the activities this app has had me doing. And while it may not further world peace or have any meaningful impact on the planet by the end of the day, it's been a lot of fun.

Last week though I took it one step further & played with Barbies. Yep. Dragged another (crazy) instagrammer with me who borrowed her youngest daughter's barbies & accessories & agreed to meet with me. I might have omitted to give that explanation to my husband though & just told him I'm going out to meet with a friend. As for the friend in question, she did tell her husband. From what I understand it was not a very successful conversation. The question you probably want to ask too is why? It's all Socality Barbie's fault really.

Socality Barbie* is one of the funniest Instagram accounts I've come along in a long time. Created by a young, American woman who wants to stay anonymous, it makes fun of a lot of Instagram's cliches, but mostly the hipster West coast culture & all users of the hashtag #liveauthentic. If this doesn't ring a bell let me translate it into images of mountain-hiking, coffee-drinking, fog-chasing, clean-living persons, wearing the right shirts, glasses, watches, working as baristas & wood-workers & wrapped up in the famous Pendleton Blanket. And really she does have a point; what's so authentic about all wearing, visiting & writing the same thing?

The real genius in all its simplicity is to make Barbie take the pose, the doll known all over the world for her perfect features & superficiality representing the "authentic" life. That being said, I felt targeted too by this account. I think a vast majority of Instagram users did - or at least I hope so. I'm definitely guilty of cliches & I've used hashtags such as #blessed, #explore or #simpleliving. 

What's been kind of funny & not so funny ever since I started following this account is that I've read & seen everything on Instagram through this filter, meaning that a lot of captions have made me laugh involuntarily. All of a sudden they just don't seem so authentic anymore. I've also had a real hard time writing my own captions because they all felt so cliche & superficial. But that's probably when funny is the best, when you're laughing first & then actually start thinking (thank you Barbie) & asking different questions: Why am I posting these pictures, what am I sharing & especially why do I want it to come across as so authentic, clean & simple? My easy answer is because most of our lives aren't like that so it's tempting to make them look better on social networks. 

At this point, I would have loved to make a long story short but it's too late for that. I will try however to get back to explaining what I'm doing playing with Barbie dolls in the streets of Paris although you're probably starting to get the picture. 

There's a lot of "authentic" living going on in Paris too. Some Paris accounts like to pose with macarons, croissants & other French pastries like they eat them all the time without ever gaining weight. Others pretend everything in Paris is pastel-coloured by carefully choosing their filters. Some lives seem to be all about picnics along the Seine, coffee dates at hip cafe places & romantic strolls through the parks of Paris & grabbing a Chanel bag on the way. Sometimes I get so tired of this romantic, girlish vision of Paris where we all pass by the Eiffel Tower 5 times a day & always make it to the perfect sunset.  It was one of the reasons that made me start this blog & create an account on Instagram offering a different view on Paris. But to be honest (or authentic...), of course I don't post pictures of dog poo, garbage bins or other very real aspects of Paris. Nobody needs more ugliness in their lives. 

I just posted some pastry two day ago, & I like to stroll along the Seine and while trying not to live up to the idea of what is expected when living in Paris, I think it's impossible to be authentic on social medias. I think I would be kidding myself if I said I was. And maybe real authentic people don't use social media at all... But trying to be genuine & able to laugh at yourself are two things I value a lot in the accounts I follow. Sensing there's a real human behind with flaws & self irony, where not everything is perfect & where you can feel you have something in common, that's when Instagram starts making sense to me & becomes more than just a place where you can get inspiration to travel, cook, create. Because just like I don't need anymore ugliness in my life I sure don't need to be reminded that there are some worse control freaks out there than myself. Or perfect Barbies.

In the meantime, we took Barbie out for some #authentic & #blessed living, trying to recreate some of the classic cliches from Paris. finding the spots, changing outfits, hairstyling (we probably need to improve a bit here), light, right angle, filters afterwards. Authentic living is hard work. Here's Cecile making sure her chiropractor isn't out of a job just yet:

As Aqua said in their Barbie song "Life in plastic - it's fantastic". Even the Eiffel Tower seems to agree (although it's really more a shot of Barbie gone wrong because we actually thought we could get you to think she's standing in front of the real thing #fail).

Some more styling because even Barbie doesn't just "wake up like this":

Barbie looking for a new Super girl outfit & getting told exactly where to stand while naturally strolling in front of "Shakespeare & Co" to do a bit of vintage book shopping:

Eating a little choux a la creme from Odette while an autumn leave naturally carried by the wind lands between Barbie & her BFF:

And speaking of choux, this is were I realise that I have no category for this post. Starting to understand while most bloggers have one they call miscellaneous - would come in pretty handy at this moment & I might add one in the near future. Note September 2016: finally created a category named thoughts (please note I didn't call it deep thoughts). Till then I'm opting for the eat-drink-shop category with a few last pictures of Odette where Barbie sorry, we went to get some of their famous creamy puffs. We could have gone for macarons of course, but decided Barbie is a little bit more avant-garde in her choice of calorie intake. Choose between caramel, vanilla, coffee, pistachio, green tea, wild berries & more. Besides looking perfect on Instagram, they're actually edible & pretty good too.

Odette - 77 rue Galande, 75005 Paris - Open 10.30am to 7.30 pm every day - One choux: 1,90EUR - One box of 6 choux: 9,90EUR - One box of 12: 19,80EUR.

*The name Socality Barbie is inspired by Socality, a Christian organisation who according to their official website stands for "social community all for eternity". I don't think they find the account as funny as I do. 

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