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Barbra Streisand and the Narcissism of Instagram: On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever #nofilter

Barbra Streisand and the Narcissism of Instagram: On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever #nofilter

Last Wednesday, thousands of gay men (and straight women)
woke up to an exciting tidbit of news: Barbra Streisand joined Instagram. She,
or should I say her publicist (unless Streisand enjoys writing in the third
person) took to Twitter to announce the new social media account of the
multi-talented artist: “Big news… Barbra has joined @instagram!
See her first post here.

Her first Instagram
photo was everything that one could hope for: Streisand and her Coton de
Tulear, Samantha, were sprawled across the unbelievably white cushion of a
black wicker chair. The caption reads, “Hello Instagram…isn’t my Samantha just
precious?” to which one can only respond, “Yes Babs, she’s the cutest thing on
this planet!” Unlike most Instagram photos, which are taken with phones and filtered
to look more aesthetically pleasing, Streisand’s image was clearly the result
of a photo shoot. If the unnatural light or the lens’ focus on Babs didn’t give
it away, then Streisand’s heavily Photoshopped face was the biggest tell-tale
sign. This playfulness with artificiality is what I, along with millions of
queer fans, have come to adore about Streisand. She has constructed a career on
manicured nails, giant sweaters, flattering light, and carefully calculated
camera angles, which is why her first photo is a fitting introduction to the
narcissistic app.

Streisand’s posts have been few and far between. She managed to get in the
clichéd food post (a tray of beautifully crafted cupcakes with the caption
“Cupcakes…not on my diet…and too pretty to eat!”) before she revealed her true
motive behind joining the popular social media app: promoting of her new duet
album, “Partners.” Her first Instagram photo was used as the album cover, though
Samantha would be cropped and replaced with a pastel green border. Streisand’s
name (as always) would be the prominent fixture on the cover while her
collaborators were written in a smaller font. She even created the trending
topic “#BarbraPartners, “ which she used for her next post (a video of Michael
Bublé talking about Streisand’s powerful voice and masterful storytelling

To say that I felt duped would be
misinformation. I did not expect that Streisand’s Instagram account would be
used as a marketing tactic, but at the same time, I wasn’t that surprised. Streisand
has made no qualms about putting the spotlight on herself, whether it is
through her singing career or her directorial efforts (Yentl and The Mirror Has Two
are vehicles used to show how talented Streisand is at everything).
She is a diva who knows how to make the light fall gracefully on her face (even
if that means Samantha gets cast in the shadows). I secretly hope that
Streisand posts more photos of herself in and around her stately mansion, just
as long as Samantha is always in tow, gets to eat one of those “pretty”
cupcakes, and is listed as a #BarbraPartners on her upcoming album.

This Article is related to: Features



In a nutshell social networking is used to get the person posting attention – whether they're showing their raw self in funny, vulguar or or polished versions. Congrats to Barbra. As demonstrated by this blog she did just that first time out. In this impossibly dull world of marginal performers lacking any individual style and as a result relpy on impersonating vaudeville strippers to fill the void where talent should exist, it's nice to see someone in the public eye that isn't offensive or embarrassing


I've been a Barbra Streisand fan for close to 40 years now, dating from the height of her movie super-stardom in 1976. In the ensuing decades, I have lost count of the number of critics who dissected her persona; criticized her style, politics, reclusiveness, visibility, longevity, trendiness, outdated-ness, and on and on and on and on and on. It's been a relentless assault from the beginning of her career. Almost without exception, i have found the criticisms to be off the mark and based on personal bias or incorrect information.
I still remember a 1994 conversation with a tech guy who had spent the day working with Babs, when she was in NYC to receive an ASCAP award. He bitched and moaned that she kept everyone there for 4 hours, while she made sure the lighting was perfect. When i asked about if she had been rude or abusive, he said 'no, she was actually pretty nice, but just a pain in the ass". I pointed out to him that Streisand was then 52 and any woman her age, with a successful film career, had to be careful about how she looked in public…Less about personal narcissism, she was simply a smart business woman who understood her 'product' was HERSELF, and just like any other business, she wanted to make certain her product was well represented. In the voice over commentary on the South Park Mecha-Streisand episode, egomaniacs Trey Parker and Matt Stone say that, generally, when they make fun of a celebrity, it's really celebrity in general they are lampooning. In Streisand's case, it was personal. THEY HATE HER. Why? Mostly because of her 1992 call to boycott Colorado in response to that state's homophobic Amendment 2. The Mecha-Streisand character wants to rule the world. Interesting, but that criticism seems much more appropriate to Parker and Stone, who think they are the last word on any social issue. No wonder they were offended by Streisand, as they are surely offended by anyone who doesn't suck up to them.
Guess what? She's still here and all the naysayers take their turns making exits, stage left, never ceasing to be the mediocrities they were born to be, despite their vain belief that bringing down Streisand might make them seem less mediocre.
When the Instagram photo dropped, countless comments addressed to directly to Barbra, lamented how sad that she had had SO MUCH plastic surgery, despite very recent paparazzi photos which show her wearing little to no makeup, and looking the same and pretty friggin great. (yet the larger, clearer version of the Instagram image clearly shows it's the same old face with too much Photoshopping to reduce skin contrast and darken eye makeup, which is typical for any celebrity).


Since the 70s, Streisand has been notoriously narcissistic. Even though she has done a lot for women in entertainment and feminism as a whole, her vanity is still creepy as hell. She's the perfect example of vain, self-absorbed, public figures that cannot age gracefully. It's an obvious character flaw.


1) offensive to gay men
2) clearly doesn't like Streisand
3) didn't pick up on the fact that this was part of the photo shoot for her forthcoming album
4) didn't pick up on the fact that joining Instagram was timed to coincide with forthcoming album
5) should be banned from writing anything at any time


Give her a break. Photoshopped or not she still looks fabulous for her age. You need to use your blog for more reasonable things. Why not focus on her unparalleled talent instead of your bitchy remarks?


WOW!! This character truly has an insurmountable hatred for anything Barbra. I laughed all the way through his diatribe knowing fully well that he loved every second it took for him to write the piece. But, in effect he was actually showing the reader that it was he, and not Barbra, with the rather strange case of narcissm since the article was all about him and not really about Barbra. Streisand is a once in a lifetime force of nature. She has been at the top of her craft for 50 years so far, and nobody has been able to "rain on her parade". What a funny girl!!!

Jose, smile a little more and make sure that the next piece you write is something positive about someone in the world that you admire.

Heshi Howard

Gee, Jose — were you scraping the bottom of the barrel for something to write about? What a bunch of tired observations about Barbra Streisand. No doubt she's got a healthy dose of vanity — she's an actress and a movie star, for pete's sake. And the woman is 72. Give her a break if she wants to be photoshopped. What an unnecessary and worthless piece you've "contributed."


After all these years I'm amazed at how she, and not others, get attacked. Everyone gets photoshopped and any artist wants to promote their work. It is a business after all that makes money not only for the star, but for those employed on the project.

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