The thirst trap analysis

Neha Seenarine, Arts & Life Editor

When I first made my Instagram account in fifth grade, my page was dedicated to the boy band Big Time Rush. Now that I’m a senior in college, my Instagram feed has “glo’d up” for the better.

My account, in plain terms, is very me. You could take one glance, and it is bombarded with selfies leaving a little to the imagination, also known as thirst traps. 

Cambridge Dictionary defines thirst traps as “a statement by or photograph of someone on social media that is intended to attract attention or make people who see it sexually interested in them.”

However, the dictionary has the definition all wrong.

When I take selfies, I don’t think of anyone but myself. There is no way in hell that I stand in my kitchen facing the glaring sun through the window to impress somebody. The main idea is that I look and feel good, and there’s no harm in sharing that with my friends online.

Selfies tend to come from the perspective of vanity. People may think I’m self-absorbed because I post a picture in a tank top with a Ja Rule song in the background of my Instagram story.

 In an International Business Times article, Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Boston, stated, “Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t specter of either narcissism or very low self-esteem.”

Rutledge is wrong.

There is no reason why people shouldn’t take photos of themselves. Vanity and confidence can be misconstrued. People should be able to enjoy how they look after a new haircut, spending hours getting ready to go out for the night or even if their skin looks good on a Tuesday afternoon. It’s been almost a decade since Nicki Minaj released “Feelin’ Myself” and the sentiment sticks.

As a college student praying to get a job after graduation, I’ve often been told to watch what I post online. I’m aware of what the damage of a digital footprint can do and I can assure myself that you won’t find a tweet from me insulting others. However, I don’t think a thirst trap will stop me from investing into my 401K. A photo of me in a bikini with a Miami Vice in my hand doesn’t define my skills and capabilities.

Although I willingly post thirst traps, I didn’t ask for the reception that follows. When my friends comment “SLAY” or a few heart-eyed emojis that’s all the appreciation I can ask for. It feels nice knowing that my friends are supportive. However, when I post thirst traps that leave little to imagination, there are times when I get bombarded with messages from males. Some comments are harmless, but other messages make judgments on my body or suggest I should hook up with them. My thirst traps or any photo are not meant to allude that I’m looking for sexual endeavors. I’m just a girl that likes to wear crop tops.

However, social media can spin that in a different direction and the photo may send the message that I’m looking for attention. I can’t control the way people view me in-person or online, so might as well post the selfie. After all, a little boob never killed anybody.