"Instagram Husbands" Is Funny, But It Also Relies Heavily On Harmful Sexist Stereotypes — VIDEO
Making the Internet rounds today is a short, satirical video giving us an intimate peek into the lives of the people behind all those gorgeous photos of latte art, elaborate dinners, and women posing in hip, beautiful environments you see on your social media feeds all the time: The Instagram Husbands. "My name is Jeff, and I'm an Instagram husband," the first man featured in the video starts out. "Behind every cute girl on Instagram is a guy like me. And a brick wall." Instagram husband number two, Trey, remarks sadly that he had to delete all the apps off his phone to make room for all the photos he has to take for his wife and her Instagram account. According to Jeff, his only job is to make his wife look good; if he so much as drinks his latte before she Instagrams it, he faces a dressing-down — because, as his wife puts it, "No! You can't do that! We have to show everybody how much we enjoy our lives together!"
To be fair, the idea that someone is responsible for documenting all your snacks and OOTDs is pretty funny. It pokes fun at social media culture, because — let's face it — social media culture itself is more than a little ridiculous. But the video itself is also pretty problematic, largely due to the fact that it relies heavily on harmful sexist stereotypes. At a very basic level, it shames women who post photos of themselves or their lives, painting them as completely self-absorbed. (News flash: We're all a little self-absorbed — not just women — and being self-centered isn't always a bad thing, anyway.) On another level, the video implies that all women ever want to do is have pictures taken of them for the 'Gram — and that they don't have any other interests besides pestering their husbands 24/7 in the name of it.
The idea of the "Instagram husband" isn't doing any favors for men, either. The stereotype of the milquetoast husband is just as harmful as that of the domineering wife — and besides, sharing photos on social media isn't just a "girl thing." Guys can, do, and should share all the images they like. The unnecessary gendering of the activity hurts everyone, so it seems silly to cast men and women in these rigidly defined roles.
Would "flipping the script" have helped? Maybe; a version of this video with swapped gender roles might have challenged the idea that women are selfie-obsessed, self-absorbed, or vapid. But the fact remains that stereotypes associated with femininity are generally shamed in our society — which, again, harms both women (who are painted as inherently lesser because of these traits) and men (who are also painted as lesser if they don't ascribe to a particular type of masculinity). For a gender-swapped version, of the video, the comedy would have relied on men doing traditionally "female" things, and women behaving in a traditionally "male" way in response. It still depicts the traits as "bad."
The bottom line: I will always take issue with shaming someone for wanting to capture their outfit when it's on fleek. There's nothing wrong with digging what you're wearing, or with digging your own life (even if what you Instagrammed doesn't necessarily look like reality all the time). You do you, right?
Check out the full video below if you're interested in seeing what the hubbub is all about.
Images: The Mystery Hour/YouTube (2)