'How To Eat Banana' to 'Elegant Sitting Postures': Do We Need Etiquette Coaches?

We asked image coaches about the elitist and sexist tone of their content on Instagram. Here's what they said.

Now Rolling
4 min read

Camera: Ribhu Chaterjee & Shiv Kumar Maurya Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

Do you, like most people in the world, peel your banana before taking a bite? Well, you've been doing it wrong. It's 2023, and it's time to break your bubble. The modest banana is to be placed on a platter, and delicately unpeeled using -- wait for it -- a fork and knife.

You read it right. A fork, a knife, a banana -- that's how the 'etiquette coaches' will make you do it. Welcome to their prim 'n' propah world.

Through reels edited on trending music, 'Image Makeover' coaches on Instagram are teaching - drinking water etiquette, burger eating etiquette, how to hold a tea cup, how to eat ice cream elegantly, proper way of sitting for ladies, how to stop being average...

To be honest, on the face of it, you can clearly sense an elitist tone.

Sample this video: 3 ways to be more elegant at home

Not only the elitist tone of it all. Most of this content is targeted towards women, which seems sexist.

We just did not want to make opinions on the basis of what we saw on Instagram. After all these coaches have massive following on their Instagram and YouTube pages. There's definitely a demand for their services.

To give them benefit of doubt and understand the work of these coaches better, we met two image coaches.

Divvya of Ksenia Consultants and  Sneha of Lots of Learning were kind enough to spare time from their busy schedule and speak with us.


Ksenia consultants started in 2019 in Delhi and they have about 1200 clients from India and Indians settled abroad. Headed by Divvya whose expertise is in lifestyle coaching, emotional Intelligence, communication and interpersonal relationship skills.

Kanpur based Lots of Learning started in 2013 and they 250 clients from India and Indians settled abroad. Sneha works on communication, etiquette and personal branding.

Both are certified image consultants.

First we wanted to understand what is it that people need help with?

Most people come asking how to talk. The answer doesn't lie in how to talk. It is actually their emotional intelligence which is lacking. You can come and say, 'Hey Divvya, I am having a lot of trouble being able to talk to my parents about the fact that I want to marry this boy. What do I do?'
Divvya Agarwal, Ksenia Consultants

Believe it or not, people lack vocabulary to communicate and many face hesitation in communicating with people. That is what life coaches are there for, to help people navigate their emotions and be able to communicate better.

Besides this, Divvya also helps people who want to get dressed or learn etiquette for a particular event.

Divvya, I want to look really elegant while dining with my fiancé or my extended family.' I teach them chapati. Take a spoon, take dal and make a pocket out of it so that it doesn't drip. Make smaller bytes. So, I give those hacks away.
Divvya Agarwal, Ksenia Consultants

Most of Sneha's clients want a lot of understanding of why they are stuck where they are.

Assertive communication, obviously conduct and etiquette comes into place. I also get a lot of clients whose children are getting married. So, they want their children to be groomed. Not just like prim proper, how to laugh, not like that. Not fancy like that.
Sneha Gupta, Lots of Learning

Does this also mean that people who are image conscious, who fear being judged or insecure would fall for etiquette like these?


According to Sneha, it is important to understand the importance of personal branding and your image projection. She coach her clients from very small things like burger eating, or sitting or standing comes matters when you're conscious of how people will perceive you. 'You can literally be nicknamed for the kind of things that you do', she said.

Divvya believes that etiquette is more than just learning these soft skills, etiquette is about being considerate and respecting other people in a public space. Divya added, 'If I am coming here with you and you're not able to serve yourself, the right etiquette is to get up and serve you'.

To be fair, videos on email writing, body language or maybe motivational stuff could be helping people. That aside. When you promote content that surrounds teaching women how to sit, suitable nail paints to wear at work or elegant standing postures, it just shows your colonial hangover.

Already in a society which pressurises women to be elegant or to be a certain way, these videos are only pushing that narrative further.

Women you are allowed to sit the way that you want to. Ya, go ahead and sit like this. But why do we say don't keep your elbows on the table because you will slip something off.
Divvya Agarwal, Ksenia Consultants
If you are asking about content creation around things which don't match the mindset of everyone, I think it is absolutely okay. We have to be slightly thick-skinned as image coached that we are not catering to everybody. Please go ahead and do however you wish to do.
Sneha Gupta, Lots of Learning

Surely these coaches are doing more than what we see on Instagram or other social media platforms. They are not able to show everything they are doing and end up creating 'trending' reels to get engage users.

We just wanted to call out the elitist tone, implying the idea of a 'proper woman'. Heck, somebody questioning your 'manhood' for getting eyebrows done.

Can such content on social media go without impacting our insecurities and further promoting problematic ideas?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Lifestyle   Women   Gender 

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