You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

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.

Unfortunately,
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
abilities).

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
Faces
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