It’s rough out here in these social media streets. The world domination of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have evolved to the point of allowing our obsession with being connected, to become part of our daily routine. Move over coffee and bagels, mornings just aren’t mornings without a check-in with the gram. In our attempt to showcase the highlight reels of our existence, the rules of engagement have been stripped (literally), and indelibly changed.
When I first joined Facebook, it was exciting. An opportunity to reconnect with high school classmates, out of state family members, and acquaintances I’ve grown fond of during my travels abroad. Instagram and Twitter then became tools I would utilize to further express my quirky personality, or at best trash talk on Football Sunday (currently boycotting). That was enough to keep my current followers content I thought – until it wasn’t.
Something changed. It wasn’t so much that I followed new people who were influencing the way I interacted across social media platforms, but rather the people I already knew who were now taking a more provocative approach in becoming double tap worthy or dare I say it, relevant. To avoid beating around the bush any further, they’re naked! Everybody is naked and I, the furthest thing from being a prude, was not ready.
I want to make myself clear, I too follow the “fitness” model pages, and the beautiful Instagram underwear models like the rest of us. It’s fun, a great stress reliever and lets be honest, a little eye candy while strolling through timelines in between tv commercials. It’s completely harmless. My issue which has me perplexed beyond belief, are the regular folks that I’ve come to know and love, that have revamped their social media profiles to be void of any actual clothing, or wearing very little of it. A complete contradiction as to how they’ve previously represented themselves so much that I’ve now dubbed Instagram, Sextagram.
I do pride myself on creating a non-judge mental space here. I could care less what adults do on their own individual platforms. Sex sells, and I’m not mad at that. My question is, what was the tipping point that made being in your underwear if you’re not selling a product, now the golden ticket to Insta-fame?
We are witnessing men of all ages and various backgrounds, ditching the beloved (or annoying) food pics, and gratuitous gym routine videos, in lieu of jock straps boudoir-esque photos to steam up our timelines. Is this what we’re doing now? Do I need to adopt an “if you can’t beat’em join’em mentality?”
Everyone wants to be seen whether they’re willing to admit it or not. Who doesn’t love it when the amount of likes steadily increase after your latest fresh cut barbershop selfie? There is no shame in wanting a sizable following whether it’s to connect with your tribe, or to grow your business or online presence. Is it necessary however, that we resort to pseudo-adult entertainment tropes in order to be considered desirable? Is this the new way to get dates or potential sex partners?
Some may argue that Instagram is the new Grindr giving the popular dating (hook up) app a run for its money. It could also very well be that a sexier approach to one’s influence is just another phase in the evolutionary tract of digital connection that like the constant changes to social media platforms and how we share, is unavoidable.
There are a plethora of tasteful and artistic photographs online that are sexy in nature and even if not intentional, fall prey to an observer’s perception of arousal. At any given moment, someone is posting their gym progress complete with shirtless selfies and flexed muscles. There are however, elements of our community that are predicated upon appearance and the need to always be perfect and enticing. It’s not indicative of everyone, but it’s always been a part of the fabric of who we are.
It might be easier just to go with the flow and rather than question someone’s motive for pulling a Toni Braxton Grammy dress circa 2001 glow-up, throw my own work out pics into the mix of my Dallas Cowboys suck memes and get with the program. I’ve never asked the men I knew why the switch up on their profiles, but often assumed some were getting naked to reach the highly coveted 10K followers. Who am I to judge when it clearly worked?
I think my problem is not that I’m a prude, jealous, or judgmental, but overly analytical. In my brain, anything, including the workings of Instagram, has to make sense. Maybe that’s just the point. It doesn’t have to. I can just relax, throw in the towel and view the cheeky (pun intended) surprises on my timeline as entertainment. I’ll still have my suspicions, but will continue to watch and double tap when warranted. As you were fellas, as you were.