Opinion: How nudity and sexuality gain more likes on Instagram

By Francesca McKernon

Opinion Contributor

Social media platforms that center around visual images like Instagram have given rise to entire celebrity empires with large followings. One celebrity that has “broken the internet” more than once with her partial nude selfies is Kim Kardashian. With over 108 million followers and an average of 1-3 million likes per picture, one must wonder what to post. Kim Kardashian has been no stranger to posting revealing pictures, and a trend we are starting to see is a direct correlation of the number of likes and the ‘sexiness’ of a picture.

The more controversy a picture causes, including nude photos, the more attention and positive reinforcement we give to the celebrity to keep posting more photos like that. Kim has managed to bypass Instagram’s ‘no-nipple’ community standard for her nude pictures by blurring out her nipples or using a bar to censor them. Her most liked photo this year with 5 million likes features her opening a fur coat with her breasts completely exposed but blurred. While some people may claim that it’s her body and she can do whatever she wants with it, she has an obligation as a public figure to realize the effects of her posts on young women and men.

It’s not only a Kim Kardashian issue though; most celebrities, fitness accounts, and models do this as well. Instagram is ranked as one of the most mentally damaging social media apps In a survey of almost 1,500 Britons aged 14 to 24. The Royal Society for Public Health found that young people were most likely to associate Instagram with negative attributes and low self-esteem, resulting in poor body image and lack of sleep. Self esteem issues are only exacerbated by celebrities like Kim Kardashian that have modified their bodies to society’s definition of ‘perfection.’

We as a society feed off celebrities’ glamorous lives, and act as the judges of their looks, holding them to much higher standards than we would a regular person. Unfortunately, we respond intensely to seductive and controversial pictures, only reinforcing a celebrities’ actions with a ‘double-tap’ on Instagram. Christopher Lasch wrote in The Culture of Narcissism that it is “It is evanescent… In our time, when success is so largely a function of youth, glamour, and novelty, glory is more fleeting than ever, and those who win the attention of the public worry incessantly about losing it.” In order to capture and sustain the public’s attention, celebrities resort to extreme tactics that often sacrifice their own dignity. I personally have an issue with those that claim that Kim Kardashian is an independent, strong woman because she resorts to these traditional tactics of sexuality to promote herself. I much rather have a woman like Emma Watson impress me with her intelligence rather than her boobs and butt. Celebrities that don’t resort to the cheap, fast tactics of capturing our attention not only gain my respect, but my likes as well.

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