I am not the only one noticing this peculiar form of propaganda, now prevalent on Instagram and Youtube social media:
There is an undeniable aesthetic and demographic conformity in the vanlife world. Nearly all of the most popular accounts belong to young, attractive, white, heterosexual couples. “There’s the pretty van girl and the woodsy van guy,” Smith said. “That’s what people want to see.”
King clicked on the account’s most successful post, which has more than eight thousand likes. In the image, the back seat of the van is folded down into a bed; King faces away from the camera, holding a sheet to her chest, her hair cascading down her naked back. The second most popular post was of King wearing a bikini, standing on the van’s front bumper. In the next most popular, King is in a bikini, slicing lemons.
“People really want to see beautiful locations,” King said.
“They want to see Emily in a bikini, they want to see a sun flare, they want to see the van,” Smith said. “Ones of Emily in the van waking up with Penny, they crush it.”
“It’s real and it’s kind of moody—”
“It’s a naked female,” Smith said…
Source: #Vanlife, the Bohemian Social-Media Movement – The New Yorker
If you are cute enough and have enough followers, you can get paid promotional endorsements from advertisers. Which puts all this solidly in the realm of “celebrity endorsement” propaganda. Who knew?
Update: Hah! Here is how this post appears in my (the owner’s) Facebook news feed – I can even buy Likes for it!