VIDEO.  Exhibition on social networks: we explain the "Thirst Trap" phenomenon

VIDEO. Exhibition on social networks: we explain the “Thirst Trap” phenomenon

Bare torsos, abs or languorous poses… You have all seen this kind of content on social networks, whether posted by anonymous people or celebrities. This practice has a name: thethirst trap”. Or literally “thirst trap”.

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The “thirst” in question here is both that of recognition of the person who publishes this type of content, but also the “sexual thirst” of the users whose attention it seeks to capture. “The contents ‘thirst trap’ is a tool for users to enhance the popularity of their account, but can also be a means of self-expression. In some cases, this content may be used to generate economic profit”believes Dimitra Laurence Larochelle, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Quebec in Montreal, who studies in particular the use of social networks and gender representations.

“It’s a type of content supposed to attract the attention of users on a sexual level”

Dimitra Laurence Larochelle, researcher at UQAM

at franceinfo

We have seen this type of publication since the advent of Instagram and the culture of the selfie which exploded with the development of smartphones in the 2010s. But with the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions that accompanied it, “the use of digital technology in several areas of daily life, including the expression of sexuality”strengthened notes Dimitra Laurence Larochelle. “In this context, there has been a proliferation of this type of content online”observes the researcher.

A practice that is renewed

Traditionally attributed to young women, statistically more producers of selfies, the contents “thirst trap” diversify. On TikTok, many young men indulge in it, sometimes by following “trends”a type of “trendy” content reproduced and copied with the same model and often the same musical background.

But the “thirst trap” is not limited to a dance intended to highlight his abs. A culinary tutorial or a video intended to draw tears can be used as a support to arouse desire. It’s not just limited to younger people either, but the desire is still at the center of the post.

Enhanced perfect body image

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

This is an additional risk for the youngest users of being dissatisfied with their own bodies, as Dimitra Laurence Larochelle points out, “many studies have reported a correlation between exposure to this type of image and the development of a feeling of dissatisfaction in subjects with their body”.

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