On Joe Rogan’s podcast #1081 with evolutionary biologist couple Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, around the 1:07 mark Rogan references his new standup comedy material about the emergence of “Instagram Whores”, a new type of human being cultivated by social media:
In our culture today, one of the things that is a big standout as being very novel is social media. This is a completely new thing. And this social media is being used to attract sex partners is a very new thing. I had a bit about that in my last act, my last Netflix special, about some girl — she probably has like 9 billion people on her Instagram now — she had 9 million followers and all she did was take pictures of her ass. I said, “Science needs to study her, ’cause this is a new type of human being. We don’t know anything about her. It has nothing to do with what she says. It has nothing to do what she has accomplished in life. It literally is about people focusing on her ass.
She’s doing it for attention. I’m sure there is an economic benefit to it to, but that came later. The attention came first. She didn’t embark on this journey like going: *snaps fingers*, “I know what I’ll do, I’m going to figure out how to make money off my ass”.
And of course, Heather Heying with the truthful but unintentionally hilarious reponse:
Because every girl comes of age and discovers that’s an asset.
Like all good observational comedy, the comedy lies in the truth. Social media is in fact a new thing, but it doesn’t take a scientist to recognize that the “Instagram Whore” is not a new type of human being. Heying points that out. Every girl eventually recognizes that in what may be termed the “sexual marketplace”, a girl can get negotiating power within that marketplace via youth and looks, as it signals biologically to the opposite sex health and fertility.
Narcissism and selfishness have always existed to varying degrees within humans. What’s new is that social media has normalized narcissism and other long-recognized anti-social disorders. Now we are witnessing the worst outliers of these disorders setting the example for the rest of society to follow. In other words, what used to be shunned culturally as being overly arrogant and anti-social is now being rewarded financially and with fame. Instagram Whores start to take the place of Hollywood actors and actresses as western society’s newest amoral role models.
Consequently, social media subversively encourages everyone to be narcissistic to a degree as their deformation of the “marketplace” strongly suggests that maximally showing off your assets has potentially bigger rewards than ever.
It is one of the many reasons why I personally believe social media has turned western society upside down. The normalization of anti-social tendencies by Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have prioritized the vices once kept in check by stigma and ostracization, leading to the current decay of family values, selfishness and empathy. It doesn’t take a scientist to deduce why social media usage has led to higher levels of unhappiness, anxiety and other psychological disorders never seen before, but scientists already have done the work to prove this bit of common sense.
The “attention whore” is not a new type of human being, but social media and its widespread use have elevated her from the cesspool of society to the limelight, culturally redefining “success”, exploiting humans’ innate weaknesses by encouraging greed, selfishness and lust. It’s no different than making it socially acceptable to use an addictive, fatal drug, and society should expect the fatal consequences that follow and thus the fallout we are clearly seeing right now.
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