Screen-Grab Psycho: Are Instagram Models the Centerfold For Your Phone Addiction?
When you first joined Instagram, you probably did so to follow your friends, family members, or maybe a few of your favorite celebs. But then you stumbled upon a model’s profile and realized what delicious eye candy such accounts can be. Instagram noticed how much you “liked” said profile and started recommending more models. So you followed them, too.
Now your feed is full of model after model after model. Bottomless models — some of whom are actually bottomless in their photos. You love checking in on the creative ways these women share their lives and beauty with the world, but at times you feel conflicted, too. “Just leave me alone with my phone,” is a thought you have way too often. Is this an innocent appreciation of the female form? Or are Instagram models your new digital addiction? Let’s take a closer look — at your psyche, not the models.
Cover Photo: PeopleImages (Getty Images)
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It’s ‘not as bad’ as porn…is it?
Studies suggest that whether you’re watching porn or ogling Instagram models, the exposure to perfection can reduce your interest in real-life lovers. At least when you’re looking at porn, you’re honest with yourself about what it is you’re up to. With Instagram models, you probably fool yourself into thinking it’s just a little harmless admiration when it’s anything but.
It feels illicit.
Even more than arousal, swiping through a slew of sexy models on Instagram probably feels exciting. It feels naughty. Is there some way you could elicit that illicit feeling without stalking hot women on social media?
It’s too easy to hide.
Men used to have to hide their dirty magazines in the garage or under the bed. Now, you can have the digital version of those mags in your pocket at all times. It’s the modern version of Playboy, except the internet never ends. There’s always one more model to look at and double tap. Herein lies the problem.
It’s deceptively personal.
Some men compare ogling Instagram models to the old-fashioned vices of flipping through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue or a Victoria’s Secret catalog. But the women on Instagram aren’t anonymous posers. They’re real people, with names and homes and pets. You see them in their most private spaces, not in professional photo studios. Instagram is intimate, but that intimacy only goes one way. She’s being vulnerable; you’re just being a peeping Tom.
You’re not paying for it.
If you’re consuming content, whether it’s from a model, a cam girl, or a sex worker, you should be paying for it. Just because it’s free to feast your eyes on Instagram doesn’t mean it’s OK to take advantage of the content creators. Pay to play. It’s the gentlemanly thing to do.
Instagram is just another way to objectify women.
No matter how you consume images of beautiful women, what you’re doing is objectifying them. Why isn’t your Instagram feed full of smart women who challenge you? Why isn’t it full of female role models who inspire you to be a better person? It might be because sexism is alive and well and our society is attached to the idea that women’s greatest contribution to the world are their looks. Every time you “like” an Instagram model’s pic, you confirm this.
Instagram can become a crutch.
If you’re getting your jollies from a bunch of two-dimensional females on Instagram, you might be less inclined to hit the dating sites instead and actually search for a partner of your own. It’s much more comfortable to stay at home, scrolling, than to have to put yourself out there in front of a flesh-and-blood human being.
Your girlfriend probably won’t approve.
To ask how you’d feel if your girlfriend was following a bunch of male Instagram models isn’t exactly fair. Female lust is a different kind of beast, and it isn’t based solely on physical attraction. So let’s put it this way: how would you feel if there were a bunch of thirsty guys following your girlfriend, liking her photos, and commenting on her selfies? Probably pretty fucking jealous, right? When she sees you following a ton of Instagram models, she feels similarly envious – and insecure. She might start to wonder if those impossibly perfect women are your ideal, and if so, she’ll feel crummy for not measuring up. Basically, there’s no way that following a bunch of models on Instagram is going to improve your relationship. It can only hurt.
The only way to find out if you’re truly addicted to Instagram models is to give ‘em up. Delete the Instagram app from your phone and, if you’re truly brave, ask a friend to change your Instagram password for you so you don’t cheat and log in on your laptop. Vow to go a week, two weeks, or longer, without looking at Instagram models. Notice what emotions come up as you abstain. (Your inner horny adolescent will probably have a tantrum.)
Then ask yourself: How can you fill the time you used to spend salivating over models to improve your approach toward, and relationships with, real-life women instead? It will be tough at first, but humans are remarkably adaptable and before long, you won’t even miss all those barely-clothed beauties.
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