Instagram Is For The Girls; Twitter Is For The Boys

Men may indeed be “visual creatures,” but that’s no excuse for perverse behavior on social media.

By Andrea Mew5 min read
Pexels/Polina Tankilevitch

It doesn’t matter if it’s a BBL babe at a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, a bikini-clad model soaking up the sun in Madrid, or a lewd cosplayer at a convention – men using Instagram to satisfy sexual urges raises major red flags. Look, enforced segregation based on sex isn’t okay, but when men get on Instagram, they’re often put in compromising positions thanks to its algorithm. So, should they reduce their footprint on the platform and leave Insta for the girlies? Let’s discuss.

Instagram: A Seemingly Endless Feast for the Eyes

Instagram, like Pinterest, is all about eye candy. Yes, yes, I know people post plenty of content that’s ugly as sin on Instagram, but the app had its start in users editing and then sharing personal photography. Humans love all things visual. Things that look good – and even things that look bad or questionable and get gears going in our minds – generate a range of emotions.

Consuming information in its visual form, whether short-form video content, carousels of carefully curated photography, or inviting infographics, catches all types of attention spans and has the power to reduce complex information to more straightforward ideas.

Way back when, our ancestors developed a knack for aesthetics as a benchmark for mating potential. Generally speaking, if a person was physically attractive (had all their teeth, clear and clean skin, a normal body weight, and, of course, smelled neutral to good, among other traits), that indicated they were fertile and healthy. In turn, physically attractive men or women could pass along successful genes to the next generation.

Obviously, the beauty industry has been disrupted by the rise of cosmetic procedures, and plastic surgery has changed that standard, but modern times are really more of a baby blip in human history compared to the sheer volume of years our species has seen without newfound enhancements.

Anyway, the underlying reasons why women, in particular, are drawn to display physical beauty have been hotly contested for years now. Researchers aren’t totally sure why, from a neurological or psychological perspective, women place a higher interest in embodying physical beauty than men, but social scientists believe that longstanding social norms play a part. Some scientists believe that the female brain more strongly appreciates beauty than the male brain does due to the longstanding division of labor trends that developed in hunter-gatherer societies. Still, we can’t point to one particular part of the female brain or body that makes us more drawn to aesthetics. Generally speaking, we just are.

That’s not to say, of course, that men aren’t visual creatures too. After all, most cherished masterpieces were created by men like Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Hokusai, Monet, Caravaggio, and many more.

But the beauty and fashion industries are championed for the female gaze. And those products, plus the application of them in real-time, are best viewed on Instagram. 

We watch all starry-eyed as beautiful young women take us along on their GRWM videos, learning the ins and outs of how we too could successfully apply creaseless concealer or curl our hair. We collect outfit inspo for date night, for the gym, for fitness classes, or for a casual day out. We bookmark beautiful recipes full of fun, nourishing ingredients that not only taste good, but look good and also (fingers crossed!) make us look good. That’s just not so much a part of the male experience, and it doesn’t really need to be.

Be Wary of the Ever-Eroticized Male Experience on Instagram

Sadly, when men open up Instagram, they’re often met with one of two things: pictures or Reels of female influencers they don’t personally know or of insanely jacked men.

The latter has been contributing to a newer phenomenon, where guys see other guys who look built and as though they’ve got it good in life. But behind their bulging musculature and shredded physiques is an unhealthy volume of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) such as trenbolone, testosterone, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), and plenty of other anabolic steroids.

These male influencers may claim their bodies are natty, but experts on the topic, like Derek from More Plates More Dates or Dr. Mike Israetel from Renaissance Periodization, debunk fake natties for the entire internet to see. 

But, even when men know that the Instagram influencers got their physique from going on gear, that isn’t always a deterrent. Plenty know the very real risks involved with PEDs but are still so enthralled by the illusion of a Marvel hero’s musculature that they’re willing to make health tradeoffs. 

And then there’s the issue of Instagram targeting men with sexual to outright pornographic photos and accounts, even if they aren’t actively seeking that content. Instagram may have taken steps to right its wrongs, but its algorithm historically favors nudity. Though it hasn’t been studied with rigorous scientific standards, some data by a group called Algorithm Watch has suggested that posts with semi-naked women are 54% more likely to appear in users’ news feeds than other types of photos.

One of the researchers said they could not prove causation but did point out that in 2015, Facebook snagged a patent for a system that could analyze photos and determine if their content was good for higher engagement. As reported by Business Insider, the patent “specifically said it would be able to identify people's ‘state of undress’ in photos.” Yikes!

To make matters worse, a recent Wall Street Journal report revealed that Reels allegedly overdeliver sexual content to accounts that predominantly follow children. The Journal also found that those accounts mostly following children were reportedly owned by adult men. Double yikes! 

I’m not drawing firm conclusions, but I’d say that it seems like Instagram can easily function as a breeding ground for really risqué, problematic behaviors.

“Can’t believe I’m actually posting this but should I be concerned that my boyfriend’s entire explore page on Instagram is models in bikinis/lingerie?” confessed one user on Glassdoor’s professional networking app Fishbowl. 

One woman on the Subreddit r/TrueOffMyChest confessed she felt “obliterated” because her husband of six years, whom she has sex with almost daily, not only seeks out Instagram “models” but saves screenshots of their photos on his phone and pays for OnlyFans content.

“I know I am not ugly, but this feels like I am f*cking hideous that I can't even be enough for my own husband to look at, let alone feel pleasure for,” she wrote. “I never thought my self esteem could be so utterly crushed by the man who I thought was my world. I continue to feel stabbed in the back because he is the father of my children.”

These things happen behind closed doors, per se, because there’s no meaningful supervision. It’s the modern-day equivalent of stashing Playboys under your bed. But back in the day, men couldn’t just DM a sexy centerfold model. Today, they bankroll the simp economy. While men, of course, deserve their own privacy to view things they like, there’s a big difference between viewing hotrods and viewing hotties…and minors, for that matter.

Posts with semi-naked women are 54% more likely to appear in users’ news feeds than other types of photos.

If a woman is taken, unless she’s got some serious fidelity issues, I doubt she wants random men “liking” all of her pics or constantly creeping on her stories. I know that I, as a married woman, always question the intentions of anons who end up following me. I’m sure some don’t have sinister, ulterior motives, but what about those that do? The majority of normal women aren't following hundreds of men's accounts and lusting after shirtless selfies or gym Reels. They are following other women to gain insight on the latest beauty trends, find the cutest dresses on sale this season, and get inspo for how to romanticize their days.

And if a man is taken, it’s disrespectful to his girlfriend or wife to be scrolling on another woman’s feed or watching every story she posts and coveting her in some bizarre, parasocial relationship. If a man is in a relationship, especially married, his page should be filled with photos of his woman (and their children, if he has any.) He shouldn't be following women he doesn't know or isn't mutual friends with his wife.

I won’t gatekeep – men have just as much of a right to be on Instagram as women. Many use it for their businesses, but if a guy is on Instagram as part of his career, things should stay strictly professional and not devolve into covert debauchery. No, you don't need to 'like' a bikini model's Instagram story to network, Chad.

Men Allegedly Evolved To Make War, So Let Them Do It on Twitter

If you give any credence to evolutionary psychology, you might be familiar with the concept of the Male-Warrior Hypothesis. It explains that men may have evolved a proclivity to “engage in collective cooperative aggression against outgroups,” and this is the reason why some psychologists think that men gain self-perceived status and satisfaction from both reckless and heroic behavior. A warlike arena gives men an outlet to compete with and impress male rivals, as well as impress potential female mates.

Is it any wonder why men tend to gravitate toward platforms like Twitter, then? Indeed, the social media platform with the highest population density of male users is X (or Twitter – I’m just going to keep calling it that, okay?) at 60.3%. Men like the discourse, the short, biting drama of informational transactions, because it satisfies their inherently masculine urges. 

Men obviously fought (and still do fight) for survival and dominance, but anthropologists also admit that boys and men are predisposed to roughhouse, fight, and engage in arguments. Georgetown University professor of linguistics Deborah Tannen, Ph.D., once explained that “boys and men tend to participate in ritual opposition more than girls and women,” and while girls and women do fight, they don’t tend to do it for fun.

Similarly, boys prefer verbal sparring (even at one another’s expense), and men are more likely to use verbal opposition in the workplace. Without a doubt, there are women who thrive in controversy and discourse, but the quippy culture that Twitter fostered just isn’t as appealing to the broad female masses as Instagram’s visual vibes. So perhaps Twitter is a better space for men to really dig deep into debate and have a more productive internet experience than on Instagram.

Twitter has its own issues with sexbots, but spammy, gratuitous “p*ssy in bio” posts are pretty different from just how porn-brained men become when they fall victim to the trap of Instagram thottery. Even I get jumpscared by Twitter sexbots, but I can safely speculate that the Instagram algorithm knows I’m a woman and keeps lewd content off my feed.

Closing Thoughts

It’s in our best interest as counterparts to the male sex to encourage them to embrace their masculinity and not discourage a healthy sex drive. Still, there’s a big difference between the days of young men gazing at a Playboy magazine now and then and modern young men letting OnlyFans models drain them of their wages – and their chances at normal, real-life relationships.

At the end of the day, we need to be able to trust our boyfriends or husbands, but if they’re secretively amassing a following list of girls and women or even coveting unrealistic physiques and unhealthy measures to obtain them, we should speak up. Maybe the algorithm is rigged against them, but we don’t have to be. 

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