'Finstas' can be boring or funny or sexy — but they're always real
Don't believe everything you read about "finstas," the secret Instagram accounts currently puzzling the internet. Rumours swirl about teenagers sharing pics of sex and drugs on their finstas, but in reality, teens are using these accounts to show their real, authentic selves. And, they're actually pretty damn dorky.
A finsta is a second—or fake—Instagram account used by teens and young people to share photos they'd rather not post on their main accounts. These private accounts often have a considerably smaller and select following. For many young people, these public-facing Instagram accounts are often highly curated and can contain heavily filtered and Photoshopped images. So, what exactly are people sharing on these private, and highly mysterious, accounts?
The Huffington Post defines finstas as fake accounts used to conceal "scandalous and overtly sexual behaviour" and to "function with anonymity to troll peers." Urban Dictionary's definition is no different, describing finstas as accounts where one can post "ratchet" photos "without persecution from sororities, jobs and society as a whole." But, is it really as sinister as all that?
Adrian Varela, 19, says he's read "so many" articles about "how teens do drugs on their finstas" and he's keen to set the record straight. "That's totally false we literally use our finstas to shitpost memes and overshare," says Valera. He says he and his "finsta mutuals" use their finstas "to just like vent and overshare about our personal lives."
Weston Windell, 18, also wants to dispel the rumour that these accounts are used to show drug use. "Finstas are used to publicise the real us. Rather that being illegal behaviour, [we're] just posting what we really think about others," says Windell. "They kind of are our opposites of our real profiles. Ironic."
Marley Amico, 20, says there are indeed some people who use them for sharing nudes and drug pictures. But for the most part these accounts are a way to share “things they only want their close friends to see.”
“It’s really a space to post anything you want, without censorship,” says Amico.
Finstas are a place for people to show their true, authentic selves to a group of close friends. But, Sabine Reedy, a 21-year-old student at Drew University, says that the argument that "finstas are more real and rinstas (real Instagrams) are more fake" doesn't quite capture the complex and nuanced nature of finstas.
Self-deprecating humour seems to be very prevalent on the vast majority of finstas, and the consensus among many users is that it's a judgement-free space where people can post silly photos of themselves to a select following. That unflattering pictures, close-up selfies, and awkward videos are all par for the course on finstas.
Maggie Donnelly, 23, created a finsta after graduation and she uses it to make fun of herself for "being basic." Be it a shot of her Starbucks cup or herself sunbathing, Donnelly uses her finsta to show herself "living that basic life." (Like the picture below.)
Reedy says she uses her finsta to post embarrassing photos of herself and to "vent" about things, but generally it's pretty standard for people to be funny on their finstas. "Your followers like to see funny posts or again something that is embarrassing because it makes them laugh," she says.
But, there's another dimension to finstas. "People use their finstas for their body positive photos 'cause it's basically like a safe space, ya know?" says Adrian Varela. He says that the idea behind finstas is that on "trusted people" are supposed to follow you.
Reedy believes finstas provide a platform away from the pressures that young women feel from Instagram. "I think that finstas provide teenage girls and young women with a space to worry less about being sexualised in terms of navigating how sexy or hot they look when posting a selfie," says Reedy.
With Instagram's as the worst social network for young people's mental health, due to its ability to cause feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, it's no surprise that young people are trying to escape the pressures and expectations of rinstas.
As finstas become increasingly widespread, a definite pattern appears to be emerging. These spaces afford a place where young people can be themselves around a trusted set of people without worrying about the consequences—be it for sharing unfiltered selfies or silly videos. And, what could be more laudable than that?
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June 6, 2017 at 04:32AM