Is Instagram to Blame for Gay Thirst Traps or Those Who Follow? LOP064


Reading my Twitter feed last week, I read this knee-jerk reaction to people with beautiful bodies posting pictures of themselves on Instagram, AKA “Thirst Traps”:

Hyperbolic language doesn’t solve problems.

Putting all of Instagram and gay thirst traps into a single container generally makes things worse. This is the path of blaming external circumstances and playing the victim card, instead of taking ownership for the problem and coming up with creative solutions.

Modern Queer Liberation is about questioning, not blocking. Queer liberation seeks evolution, not revolution. It’s about influencing, not destroying. It’s about changing the dynamics of power by laying the truth to bare and daring to have evolutionary dialogue.

For a balanced read of Gay thirst traps, read the post by Avichai Scher cited in the tweet above, Are sexy gay Instagram accounts fueling disordered eating?

No one is to blame for gay thirst traps.

What is a healthy body?

I’ve written extensively about body image in, What I Learned About Loving My Body Growing Up Gay and, Why Did The Faggot Become A Personal Trainer? I write about my 15 years as a former health and fitness coach, how I was shunned and then accepted in the gay community, and eventually how I no longer cared that much about body image.

7 Beneath-the-Skin Thoughts For Gay Men to Love Their Body_3D_500x447

To go from memoir to self-improvement, download my free book, 7 Beneath-the-Skin Thoughts For Gay Men to Love Their Body.

We live in an Information age that’s detrimental to our health.

The problem is exacerbated by how social media works to trigger and ping small hits of dopamine to make us feel good and want more, resulting in addiction. The onus is on us to disconnect. We also give power to people or accounts we follow, engage with, or speak out against.

Depictions of beauty changes with culture and time.

For example, in the gay community we have seen,

  • The Marlboro man in the 70s;
  • The smooth muscle men of the late 80s and 90s as a response to AIDS;
  • Bears, Twinks and Gender tricksters from the 2000s to now.

The muscular male physique has been around since the Olympic Games of Ancient Greece. A muscular physique and the work to achieve it is not a new endeavour. Also, as we age and gain wisdom, we begin to understand beauty, and our body, in different and new ways. I write about this in, Today I Saw My Body in the Mirror and It’s Ageing.

What do you value?

What’s most important to you? Do you value body diversity? Do you value good health? Do you value self-care? Do you value beauty? Do you value peace of mind?

When you know and live by your core values, you will make choices that serve you. For example, ask yourself, “Why am I following this account? Does it help or inspire me, or does it make me feel bad about myself? What behaviours am I practicing as a result?”

Learn more about choices and behaviours in, What Holds You Back vs What Do You Want More? LOP062, and Your Relationship with Your Mind (the Ego) and the Other to help change the structure of your self-criticism.

If you need professional help, get help.

You are worth the investment in your self and in your health, to thrive in this world.

Image: Thirst by Boris SV.

By Darren Stehle

Darren is a leadership coach in Toronto, Canada who helps his clients to connect and embrace their uniqueness and freely create the life they want. He writes and podcasts regularly about Queer Leadership.