If you did this in public, you'd be arrested. So why is it fine on Instagram?

If Instagram has taught us one thing, it’s this: Give humans a place to freely communicate with pictures alone, and they will inevitably fill it with tits and arse.

What started out as a sweet little photo-sharing app for sunsets and smiles has turned into a cesspit of desperate vanity.

If humanity had a collective photo album, it’d be filled with sexy selfies, duck-face group pics, cleavage close-ups, pole dancing shots, and naked famous arses.

And I don’t like what that says about us. Do you?

Look, this isn’t a rant about naked famous arses. We’ve long passed the point where we can stop Kim Kardashian or Rihanna sharing their rumps with millions of followers.

What troubles me is the influence these bared bottoms, pouts, and cleavage chasms have on ordinary people and the way they perceive themselves. And how they want their friends, family, and strangers to perceive them.

These are the unspoken rules of Instagram now: You must look hot at all times. You must appear bang-able no matter what the context. You must shove sex appeal into every photograph, regardless of whether it’s appropriate, tactful, or sensical. You must seize every possible opportunity to showcase your cleavage, tan thighs, bikini bod, bodacious booty, and Bambi eyes.

The imperative, above all else, is to compile photographic evidence of your attractiveness.

Maybe this is to do with our primal desire to be desired. I’m not immune to that desire; I’ve posted a casual elevator selfie in my time and secretly waited for validation via the ‘likes’ of my friends and randoms.

But I call bullshit on people making every single activity sexy – whether it’s attending a funeral, going out with girlfriends, hanging at home, or spending time with family.


Without naming names (because we’re all in this crazed state of shameless vanity together), I call bullshit on the following:

Sharing a photo taken in your bathroom of you in a completely see-through red lace dress with no underwear, when you know your colleagues will see it. Doing a cutesy sex-pout in a revealing designer outfit on your way to a memorial. Using a sneaky app to Photoshop a busty shot of you boxing at the gym with a full face of make-up. Sticking your butt out at the camera in a slinky, backless gown but including a caption about remembering a dead friend, because #meaningful.

I resent the pressure to turn every single waking moment (or for that matter, the first moment you wake in the morning #justwokeup #flawless #wakeupnomakeup) into a spontaneous photo shoot.

If we’re going do it, let’s own it.

If we’re going to descend into an obsessive, permanent state of vanity, let’s at least be upfront about it.

I propose a simple hashtag. From now on, if you cannot ignore the urge to share photos of your body or your outfit or your perfect face for no other reason than to show off, include #vanity. Because if we’re going to slather our physical appearance with importance like this, let’s at least be real about it.

We’ve made a start on behalf of these celebrities and random sexy strangers. Now, it’s over to you. Every time you chose a photo to satisfy your own need to be desired, own up to your moment of #vanity. And while you’re at it, keep others accountable too. Pop a #vanity on anyone who indulges in a bit of ego-stroking via Instagram.

Let’s spread this hashtag like bonfire.

Yep. For the literary nerds out there, I’m about to drop get off my soap box, drop my microphone and end on a Bonfire of the Vanities reference. Kate OUT.