video. Gallery on social networks: we explain the “thirst trap” phenomenon


Bare torso, belly, languid poses… You’ve all seen this kind of content on social networks, whether it’s posted by anonymous people or celebrities. This practice has a name:thirst trap. Or literally “thirst trap”.

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The “thirsty” in question here is at the same time the acknowledgment of the person posting this type of content, but also the “sexual thirst” of the users whose attention he seeks. “Content ‘Thirst trap It is a tool for users to boost the popularity of their accounts, but it can also be a way of self-expression. In some cases, this content can be used for economic profit.”believes Dimitra Lawrence-La Rochelle, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Quebec in Montreal, who studies specifically the use of social networks and gender representations.

“It’s a type of content that’s supposed to get users’ attention on a sexual level.”

Dimitra Lawrence-La Rochelle, Research Fellow at UQAM

at franceinfo

We’ve seen this type of posting since the advent of Instagram and the selfie culture that exploded with the development of smartphones in the 2010s. But with the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions that came with it, The use of digital technology in several areas of daily life, including the expression of sexuality.Notes Augmented by Demetra Lawrence La Rochelle. “In this context, there has been a proliferation of this type of content online.”notes the researcher.

renewed practice

Traditionally attributed to young women, statistically the producers of more selfies, content “thirst trap” diversification. On TikTok, many youngsters are immersed in it, sometimes by following “trends”which is a type of “fashionable” content reproduced and transcribed in the same style and often with the same background music.

But the “thirst trap” It is not limited to a dance aimed at highlighting the abdominal muscles. A cooking tutorial or a video aimed at drawing tears can be used as support to spark a craving. Not only is it young, but desire is still at the heart of the post.

Improved ideal body image

The common goal is to be validated by other users, to grow and monetize your community on occasion. The problem is the objectification of bodies, that is, the value of people is directly related to their ability to arouse desire.

This presents an additional risk to younger users of being unhappy with their bodies, notes Demetra Lawrence-La Rochelle, “Several studies have indicated a relationship between exposure to this type of image and the development of people’s feelings of dissatisfaction with their bodies.”.


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