IG Obsessed: Five Things Instagram Taught Me

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story / Kimberly Gyatso

A friend of mine in Australia, who loathes writing emails or even Facebook messages, introduced me to the wonderful world of Instagram a year ago as a way to stay current in each other’s lives. The App is a global community where users create profiles, have followers, and can post, like, and comment on pictures. Instagram has spread throughout the corners of the world and I love watching a Japanese woman’s daily bento box creations for her son or the weathered pigeon messengers of Istanbul.

It’s basically a visual forum instilled with a sense of creative integrity, or at least that’s what it set out to be. But lately the tasteful IG seems to be giving way to some, shall we say nefarious photo activity. Is nothing sacred anymore? Here are the top five Instagram discoveries that are turning my obsession into MTV Spring Break:

BODACIOUS BOY BANDS: Manufactured boy bands live on! The ridiculous hairstyles, effeminate fashion, and squeaky-clean, fresh faces of young men before drug addictions and sex tapes still exist! I stumbled across “theresonly1direction” on the popular page and was immediately spellbound by the Disney-esque 90s style, and overtly homoerotic publicity photos (“Lou Bear” what are you doing? He’s the one leaning across his band mate with his arm behind his head) of UK pop sensation One Direction. Harry, Lou, Niall, Too-Plain-To-Be-Named and Token (I have yet to decipher the name of the band member who faintly retains a distant ethnicity) are apparently the first UK group in history with a #1 debut album in the US…maybe because they look like NKOTB’s younger, metrosexual cousins? Harry is clearly the group’s front man with his dreamy mushroom haircut and bad boy persona. I have yet to listen to their “music,” but if it’s anything like their outfits, get ready for Europe in the late eighties/early nineties. You won’t need your compasses, ladies and gay gentlemen, because theresonly1direction.

CRAZY ON THE OUTSIDE: Remember when Mike Tyson got a tattoo on his face? The world was shocked, but at the same time sort of relieved. It’s like he did everyone a favor by wearing his crazy on the outside. Well, it seems our delusional boxer inadvertently started a surprising trend – there are an astonishing amount of people in the world with face tattoos. The prize for most jarring goes to a twenty-one-year-old mother in Australia with an indigo claw mark facial tattoo and a clear fondness for 40oz beers, MAC make up, and trucker hats tipped slightly askew. All I can think about is her poor child’s first day of kindergarten and his inevitable confusion as to why the other mums don’t look like his. Just ask Mike Tyson’s kids.

CROWD CONTROL: Evidently, celebrities now have Instagram profiles. Some actually take pictures and post them themselves, while others are clearly a regurgitation of their IMDB profiles or even worse, scary fan sites. Is it surprising that another form of visual exhibition and quantified popularity has reached pop culture’s famous? No, but I do find the ones who seemingly man their own profiles to be exceptionally brave, if not a little ignorant. A hilarious example of such naĂŻve courage is Alicia Keys. She posted a very flattering self portrait of herself, which made it to the popular page. As I browsed through the comments, I felt the distinct presence of car-crash effect looming in the distance- the comments were veering towards fraternity row, but I couldn’t stop reading. Then, there it was. An especially forthcoming young man expressed himself unabashedly by saying, and I quote: “I’d suck a fart outta ur ass & hold it like a bong hit.” Can brilliance still be considered clever if it’s disgusting?

SCANDI-SLAGS: Fifteen-year-old Swedish girls are the new global home-wreckers. Armed with unnatural beauty and statuesque physiques, these Coca-Cola sipping blondes have no shame posting images of their mostly-unclothed body parts all day long. They’re religious about commenting, liking, and expanding their network of fellow tweens (totally great) and inappropriately old men (come on ladies), telling them how gorgeous they are or proposing marriage twenty-four hours a day. As we now know, comments on photos of beautiful women can be exceedingly graphic by nature, which one would expect to deter such blatant self-promotion, but smiley faces and winking emoticons acknowledge each and every sailor bar slur. Curious about an overtly sexual comment’s owner, I clicked on the vague username (the vaguer, the creepier) and felt like I’d wandered into a scene from THE CELL. These girls are unafraid and relentless, which is almost scarier than the psychopaths and perverts that follow them. Pepper-spray, ladies…

THE KITTY CULT: The subculture of cat lovers has officially become a pandemic. There are IG users with tens of thousands of followers with profiles comprised ENTIRELY of cat pictures. I understand, you love your pet/companion/family member (please don’t hurt me). As an animal lover, I know the depths of your connection and dependence on each other. But once your nine-hundredth picture fails to feature even a single shot of your face, I worry. I worry about your interactions with the outside world and your place in society. I worry that you’ve forgotten there are actual humans to commune with in this world. Have your kitties, love them and post pictures of them all you want. Make decoupage coaster sets of them for all I care. But just remember that people are the ones taking the pictures, as I’m fairly certain cats have yet to master touch pads. At least I’m hoping…I don’t doubt that someone, somewhere, at this very moment, is trying to teach a cat how.
I’m just waiting for the Instagram picture proving it…
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