In this article I will be discussing how this ‘social media’ platform has added to creating a bigger issue for our society, especially young people.
Instagram, is a social media platform, used by people all over the world to share videos and pictures with one another. However the growing problem with this site seems to be the amount of individuals posting images of themselves wearing hardly anything. The selfie trend has become a worldwide phenomenon and Instagram seems to be in the middle of this debate.
Where is the line in self expression? Who are we to say how much skin an individual can or can’t expose?
As I use Instagram on a daily basis, I was noticing that I was starting to see more and more posts of accounts that I was following posting racier images. I then began to notice the increase in likes and followers that these accounts would get. This intrigued me, and so I wanted to investigate this social media phenomenon and find out is Instagram exploiting its users for sex?
Over the years, Page Three has always been a taboo topic in British society. The page skipped past by many who were embarrassed by random women exposing themselves for attention on a regular basis.
Now that we are in a society where companies look into potential employees social media history before accepting them. We are constantly being monitored on what we post, so self expression surely is something that is being censored due to our professional background. So, is it fair to say that our new generation is ignorant to think that they won’t have their social profiles investigated when applying for a potential job?
In many ways yes, as our privacy is something that we hardly have and is something that as a society we are trying to grasp back. It can be argued as to whether it is fair to judge a potential employee based on what is posted on their social profiles however it is still amazing that we are judged by what we post on social media and that it could jeopardise our chances with potential employers.
The use of the hashtag is with many users on Instagram, a way in which topics are shared on the regular basis, so hashtags are able to link people to an area where everyone with the same hashtag can view posts from other individuals. So, it’s fair to say that access to selfies that could possibly be explicit can be easily accessed by all users. With what we like being ,featured on our followers history there is no escape from the exploitation of these posts.
To gather further understanding of the growing problem amongst young people I spoke to a few Instagram users. I then wanted to do an experiment with my own Instagram profile, I looked back on previous posts of selfies (all of which are of me covered) I was happily surprised to see that most of my posts had a reasonable amount of likes which then led me to believe that the less you reveal doesn’t necessarily mean the more likes you gain.
Elisha Revill, is new to the Instagram scene, she has yet to post any photos on her account, her main aim was to watch her favourite Vine accounts through Instagram as she had been recommended by many of her friends. ‘Have some class ladies and gentlemen’ Elisha stresses that she’s disgusted by the fact people are willing to post pictures of themselves nude, if not then almost and couldn’t imagine herself doing the same. But then Elisha stressed that, ‘not everyone is the same and everyone has their reasons to why they post those types of pictures up on the internet,’ to which I agreed. Elisha ended our conversation on the statement that, ‘sex sells.” Elisha, then from previous experience, mentioned that,
‘The more provocative the photo the more likely you are to gang like and follow.’
I then wanted to ask men who used Instagram their thoughts and feelings about this growing trend, I selected 8 male account users and sent them all a private message. I only received two who were willing to respond to me but I was grateful nonetheless. The first male was, @seonshapes_2, his Instagram posts receive more than 200 likes per post. He responded with,
‘To be honest It’s not really something I pay attention to. I don’t read The Sun, but I’m aware of what is being printed on Page Three. I don’t understand why these women find the need to publicise their body parts in a newspaper, which is read nationwide. I wouldn’t condone any female in my family doing that but if that’s what they want to do, each to their own.’
To that I responded with, ‘Do you feel that women and men posting provocative images is a bigger thing on Instagram and is more acceptable?
To which another male, @wayfaringer_stranger_, responded with,
‘I don’t feel it’s necessarily a bigger thing on Instagram, I think it all depends on what you want to search for. This app is mostly based on “judging a book by it’s cover” so it makes sense for some people to boost their egos quicker by doing basic, fleshy pics, and fair play to them if that’s what they’ve worked for. Just as much as I say fair play to the rich kid that posts up his new yacht.’
Are celebrities partially to blame for this growing problem in society? We seem to be constantly bombarded with leaked nude photos of our idols. Could this possibly be one of the reasons as to why we’re desensitised by the provocative? With us being exposed daily to sex it doesn’t seem like such an issue unless brought up by the media.
With some apps even allowing Instagram users the ability to purchase more ‘likes’ on their posts, is this a self indulgent app? That will have to be left for debate until another time.
Users are becoming younger and younger as Tim Woda states,
‘Instagram can be a fun, engaging and interesting way for kids to interact with friends and family, but Instagram can also be used for nefarious purposes.’
So, we’re aware of the dangers of Instagram so why aren’t there policies put in place to avoid issues like, cyber bullying etc.
We could ask ourselves, why do people feel the need to post themselves in revealing outfits, making seductive poses, and suggestive expressions? Is it merely down to the new generation of social media users? Personally it feels as though individuals need the acceptance of strangers to have an ego boost, and I’m guilty of this to an extent. It does feel good when you receive likes, and positive comments on your outfit or how good you look. However in all my posts I remain fully clothed.
It can be argued that Instagram is just another platform for people to express themselves, as does Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr encourage their users to do so. Even though posts can be reported and taken down self expression seems to be the main issue up for debate. Censorship is on Instagram to an extent, but where is the limit as to what you actually post?
With social media comes many other issues with that are constantly brought up, for example, cyber bullying. So, we should be monitoring social media a lot more closely don’t you think? As users become younger and younger, with age confirmation being dodged and not taken as seriously as it could or should be.
I was able to speak to both male and female Instagram users about their own experience with the app… With views and opinions gathered I was then able to conclude that as a consumer of Instagram we are inundated with suggestive images.
I feel that with the social media boom, we are encouraged to expose ourselves physically but also with our likes and interests leave us with all our information for easy access for anyone who chooses to see it. I still feel uncomfortable about that idea as my privacy feels slightly violated to an extent as I only have limited control as to what my followers can and can’t see about me.