London Scout strikes pose after pose in front of the camera, flaunting her pink overcoat and silver Wellington boots. She’s done this before, and is no stranger to the process. Neither is her photographer, who knows how to capture her best angles.
Although she has 100,000 real Instagram followers just like other successful models, Scout isn’t your average model; she’s four years old.
And her photographer isn’t an ordinary one, she’s her mother. So meet the Instamom; a new breed of women that not only snap pictures of their children looking cute, but dress them in clothes they request from brands and share the moments with everyone on Instagram.
She’s been to New York Fashion week, strutting around in a pink and navy faux fur coat, playing nice for the cameras. She and her mother are so photogenic that her mother often uses the hashtag: #mommydaughtermoments, alongside the usual #scoutstyle. She’s signed to Generation model management, whilst at her age I was eating grass at school.
This child, along with many others, is growing up with their own spotlight, created by the persistence and management of their parents.
All these stage-mothers have created feeds to advertise different brands, with “scoutfashion” using “tap for outfit details” on almost every photo. There’s adorable mother daughter photos galore, but how should we react to this new trend?
Mother’s know best
The New York Times, in an article you can find here, visited a photoshoot with Princeton, the 5-year-old behind the 5,600 follower strong page “Prince and the Baker”. They found that his mother, (and stand in photographer), Kiera Cannon gets pay packages for her son’s shots, and often gets to keep the expensive clothes he models.
She also told The NY Times, when talking about placing her son into the spotlight, that: “He kind of loves it.
“A lot of followers will actually recognize him the street. And he’ll say, ‘How do people know me?’ or ‘people think I’m adorable?’”
This won’t be the first time you’ve heard of parents easing their children into a lifestyle they want for them; just look to infamous “momanger” Kris Jenner. However, Instagram is acting as a platform for quicker and easier stage mom duties.
These children are walking adverts for child brands. Fashion brand owners must love this coverage, as a cute little kid given the added illusion of being social media savvy is a sure fire way to get your clothes noticed, but at what cost? We are used to seeing child models, in shoots for big brands like River Island, but the intimacy and transparency of these Instagram posts is a lot more alarming.
Mothers, and sometimes fathers, are using their children to capture and share candid moments with the world, using a timeline to live out their ideals through the children. Of course, the children are old enough to protest and may throw a tantrum if they hated it, but it’s hard to gauge how much of their love for the occupation comes from conditioning.
People, mostly adults, fawn over these children, smitten with their cuteness coupled with serious style. This is the online equivalent to beauty pageants, were children parade up and down a runway. These often receive criticism from people who see it as commercialised exploitation, so do we draw the line before social media, or not?
Parents of these children insists their children enjoy the work, and if they didn’t it would surely show in the photographs, as pictures do speak a thousand words. However, the issue lies not in their enjoyment of it but how this work can change their views of the world and themselves. They may begin to place all their value in their superficial online presence and how famous they are, or in beauty, or style. They are being valued at such a young age for their physical appearance, and this could be very dangerous, even if their parents motives are wholly innocent.
It’s important that these “instamoms” remind the children that this is dress up, and they can still create a life of their own beyond the camera lens.
Raising a child who has more Instagram followers than every one of my adult friends is bound to be far from the norm. Maybe I’ll never be able to understand the life of Alonso Matteo, who is wearing Marc Jacobs and Dior for his 600,000 followers just half a decade into his life, and maybe it’s best I don’t.