Instagram's Most Popular Photos Of 2015 Show We Need More Diversity In Who We 'Like'
What is possibly the ultimate social media ranking is here: Instagram released its 10 most popular posts of 2015 this week, and all of the most-liked photos were from female users. That's pretty rad, right? Except for one thing: there's a lack of diversity on this list that's problematic. Taylor Swift is Instagram's most popular user (with 55.4 million followers), so I guess it's no surprise that half of the list belongs to T-Swizzle. The most liked photo belongs to another one of the social network's heavy hitters, Kendall Jenner. Sister Kylie Jenner also made the list, with an awesome graduation picture, and so did Selena Gomez with a pic looking cute; Beyoncé graced it posing with Blue Ivy. Pictures of Tay Tay as the girl next door with a squad that slays (and her cat) round out the top 10.
Look, I love that women who are celebrities and teen idols are getting credit for being themselves. But this list also points to the need for more diverse role models, and I'm talking especially in terms of occupation, gender expression, and body type. The list is mostly white, all straight, and hews pretty closely to one specific body, gender, and general appearance ideal. Also, except for the picture of Kylie Jenner holding up her high school diploma and Beyoncé cradling her daughter in her arms, the women in these photos aren't doing much. There's nothing wrong with that! Amen to a good selfie, and maintaining a certain physical appearance is a strategic marketing choice in which these women invest a lot of time and effort. I get that a lot of doing has gone into these photos. But, I also would love to see us all liking images of a more diverse spectrum of women navigating the world in other ways. How's that for next year's #squadgoals? Here are the 10 most liked Instagram photos of 2015, plus 10 more women equally worth of following and liking in 2016:
10. Kendall Jenner's Sideways Duck Face
The brow game on-fleek, lashes to there, and pout for days make this a selfie for the books, and there's no denying that Kendall Jenner is one beautiful woman. But so is her parent, Caitlyn Jenner, whose public transition this year was so important for the increased visibility of trans individuals. She's equally worth of your likes.
9. Taylor Swift Just Woke Up Like This (With Cat, Natch)
Fresh-faced Tay Tay looks awesome going make-up free in this morning selfie with cat. But you know who really bares it all (on TV, at least)? Viola Davis' character, Annalise Keating, on How To Get Away With Murder, the role for which Davis won the 2015 Best Actress Emmy. When she peels off those lashes, and takes off her wig, damn, Viola Davis goes there. I'm following Davis' IG to celebrate all of this woman's success, because one day, I want to be able to peel off my lashes and look just as fierce.
8. Selena Gomez Looking Chill
So this is what the inside of a pop star's car looks like. Selena Gomez's relaxed attitude confirms her non-diva persona, and I think there's some definite smizing going on here, so take note. Another woman who emanates chill is author, actress, and producer Rashida Jones, who is doing some pretty heavy advocacy for teenage girls entering the world of amateur porn, as she produced the Emmy-nominated documentary Hot Girls Wanted this year. Ms. Jones is def worth a follow.
7. Taylor Swift Posing With Her Cat (Again)
There's something artistic about this pic that speaks to the connectivity we all seek in creatures great and small, which reminds me of a legendary woman whose Instagram is a must-follow. She's also a musician and arguably part of (or at least muse to) one of the best bands of all time. To boot, she's an artist in her own right. I'm talking about Yoko Ono, and her must-follow IG.
6. Beyoncé Holding Blue Ivy
Queen Bey's posture conveys her confidence as a mother in this flawless photo. And could Blue Ivy's face be any sassier? In celebration of motherhood, consider following Gossip Girl's Kelly Rutherford's Instagram. This year, Rutherford has been fighting a trying child custody case and advocating against bias in the courts.
5. Kylie Jenner Graduating High School
This isn't the type of gown we're used to seeing come up in Kylie Jenner's feed, but girlfriend looks fabulous in it. Graduating high school, modeling, and starring in a reality show, you go! And speaking of scholars who had a badass 2015, you can't discount New York Times columnist and Bad Feminist author, Roxane Gay.
4. Taylor Swift Posing With Cat, Again
I mean, what's not to love about Tay Tay and a kitten. If she'd thrown in Ryan Gosling and a glass of Malbec, this photo would definitely have been #1. I love how Taylor Swift infused her tour with her girlfriends, dismantling the stereotype that young women compete as opposed to work together. If this message speaks to you, consider following the IG of Sara Ziff, model, educator, filmmaker, and founder of The Model Alliance, a labor group that introduced the Child Model Law for New York, looking out to protect the rights of models working in the fashion industry.
3. Taylor Swift Posing With BF Calvin Harris
A sweet moment capturing the singer and her beau, Calvin Harris, from the singer who loves to write songs about romantic debacles. I've heard of another woman who knows a thing or two about love and love gone wrong ... you might know her by first name only, which happens to be Adele. You're following her, right?
2. Taylor Swift With Flowers From Kayne West
It's cool Taylor is showing the world there's no longer any bad blood between her and Kayne West, further evidence that Swift had a heck of a year. If you love female singers who write their own songs, Carrie Brownstein of Sleater Kinney and Portlandia fame (and author of the sensational memoir, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl) has a pretty rockin Instagram that's worth a follow.
1. Kendall Jenner, Rocking Her Hair Art
Look, this is a gorgeous photo, and the hearts in Jenner's hair are adorbs. Well earned, Kendall! But also consider following Gia Genevieve, a model who broke onto the scene as a plus-size model and has been making waves in the world of high fashion ever since.
Thank you, Instagram, for sharing the year's most likable memories with us. And here's to next year, when (hopefully) we see a little more diversity in the women we admire.