The Voxen aren’t pleased with the fact that firearms industry influencers are making money on Instagram. Their exposé is no doubt intended to call attention to the fact that the Facebook-owned platform is being used to promote products like guns, safes and other icky products that appeal to deplorables…and prompt the Zuckerdrones to put a stop to it.
If the first wave of Instagram influencers were hired to promote things with obvious visual allure — fashion, beauty products, high-end travel, home decor — this community is being hired for a more complicated task. They’re taking the inherently ugly, seemingly undesigned world of weaponry and making it beautiful. What they’re selling, as is the case with all influencers, is their own taste; their purchasing choices are evidence of a charming and enviable lifestyle. They’re liberating guns from a dogmatic and fanatic reputation. Beautiful people love guns too.
A few weeks before the birth of her son, Charissa Littlejohn (388,000 followers) posted a photo of the baby sneakers she would give him when he was born. They were sitting on the ground between her husband’s feet (in a pair of the same shoes) and her own (also classic black Converse).
It would not be so different from any other Instagram influencer’s prenatal post — down to the tagging of a profile belonging to a baby who could not yet secure his own username but needed one all the same — were it not for the fact that surrounding the soon-to-be-filled kicks was a circle of FN 509 handguns. “Even got one for @babyyygat when he gets here …” Littlejohn wrote, thanking the company with a heart-eyes emoji, to the response of nearly 5,000 likes. Yes, her baby’s Instagram handle is a gun reference too. This is called a consistent brand.
However disorienting, when broken down to its component parts, the post is an example of coloring inside the lines, following a template long since standardized across Instagram. There are ways in which all types of Instagram influencer are the same.