“I’m done with parody Instagram accounts that mock women.”

 

A popular Instagram account recently caught my attention.

It’s called ‘Bros being basic,’ and it has more than half a million followers. The bio for the account reads ‘The most #blessed & #basic bros on the internet,’ and it’s clear from a quick scan of the almost 600 posts that the intention of the men who run it is to parody women on Instagram.

Usually, I would find it funny. Women often are absurd on Instagram. Believe me, no one’s more aware of our ridiculousness than me. With teatox endorsements, selfies, bizarre snapchat filters and highly curated holiday photos, we’re pretty easy to make fun of.

Nonetheless, something irks me about men mocking the ‘silly’ ways women behave.

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I feel like it’s condescending, and completely ignores the root of why women and girls are actually trying so hard on social media.

When we know that the female population is disproportionately affected by body image issues, low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders, why do we continue to shame women for how they choose to portray themselves online?

Watch the trailer for Embrace, a documentary about body image and how we’re going to change the future for women and girls.

We raise girls in an environment where they’re required to be beautiful and sexy. They’re objectified and made to feel like their bodies aren’t their own – that they are public property, and that they owe it to society to be a particular type of woman.

 And then, when they pick up their phones, and try to be that woman, they’re made fun of.
When girls take a look at the world around them, being highly attractive and highly sexualised has a huge social payoff.

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A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Aug 21, 2016 at 9:34am PDT

For some women, particular poses have built them an empire. Sex tapes have launched careers. Instagram followers bring in an income. Men gawk at these women, other women envy them, and at the end of the day, they’re heralded as ‘entrepreneurs.’ Business-savvy women who know exactly what they’re doing.

Personally, I try as hard as I can not to subscribe to these values. I can rationally critique the conspicuous consumption, self-objectification and complete narcissism that sits at the forefront of popular culture. But sometimes I fail. And sometimes other women fail, too.

Ultimately, seeing men pose like women, being praised for being bloody hilarious, makes me feel sad.

Girls and women don’t exist in a vacuum – we act the way we do on social media because that’s how we’ve been raised. Men, of course, can use the same argument. They’ve been taught to be funny, and are encouraged to think of women’s interests and behaviours as trivial. But somewhere, we have to break the cycle.

 If men think women are being ridiculous on social media, and appear to be desperately trying to craft a socially-acceptable image, perhaps they need to start reacting with empathy rather than ridicule.

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