If you haven’t delved hours into Instagram accounts like Barstoolsports, oldrowoffocial, and 5thyear, then I recommend you get to it now. Not only because this article would make a lot more sense if you did, but also because some of it is sincerely funny. Catered clearly to the modern college frat boy, these accounts largely feature Snapchat videos sent in by followers that typically relate to one of the same three categories: sex, drugs, and booze. Of course, there are exceptions, with some videos simply showing people getting extremely injured, the young stages of a relationship, evading campus police, or anything having to do with Juuls.
Personally, my friends and I send each other these posts all the time, some of which we have even carried out in real life (I will not disclose of how much money I have spent on Smirnoff Ices this year, but the fact remains that “icing” someone will almost never not be funny). Just this week, my roommates were scheming exactly how they would print out hundreds of photos of Harriet Tubman to tape to someone’s bedroom wall and declare “You’ve been TUBBED. ”Asinine, I know, but indulging in immature comedy every now and then (or daily) is what keeps us young, right?
But of course, here’s that part that you knew was coming. When you dig just a little deeper into exactly what makes some of these posts funny, it’s disappointing.
The strange gender segregation underlying some of the trends seen on these accounts (girls inadequately shot-gunning beers; girlfriends yelling at their boyfriends in public; Saturdays being, obviously, for the boys) paint a clear picture: women are difficult to deal with, but ultimately worth it for the sex.
Guys who are too nice to women are shamed for being “friendzoned” and are showered with empathy for the fact that they won’t get the one thing that they want. Meanwhile, guys who aren’t nice to women are praised for being “savages”. It’s not even that creative of a notion, but people still love it: women want love, men want sex.
Videos of guys throwing their friends a funeral when they become too “whipped” or someone responding to a girl’s long text message with “You still gonna send those nudes?” perpetuates all the stereotypes that I thought we had moved past since the dumb romantic comedies of the 90’s. These double standards are applied to anyone who breaks from the norm: guys who express emotion are wusses and girls who just want sex are sluts. This tired notion of men being from Mars and women being from Venus honestly seems too boring to me to still be portrayed by popular media.
And yet, I still follow, like, and share posts from these accounts all the time. It truly is conflicting to feel annoyed by some of this content, but also find some of it genuinely hilarious. I also see the comedy in me calling out these accounts in the first place: why should an Instagram account that is centered entirely around a brand of immature comedy be responsible for being well-versed in the dangers of 2017’s nuanced sexism?
I’m not calling for a revamp of the entire system, as that would be ridiculous. I do think that we can enjoy these accounts without truly believing in the values they represent – it’s what I’ve personally aimed to do. I just think that it’s an important conversation for college students to have before they’re suddenly 35 and thinking that texting a girl “nudes?” is still cool to do.
Images courtesy of: Instagram and Amazon