Episode 25: How Would You Respond to Your Partner Liking a Photo of Emily Ratajkowski's Butt?

June 6th 2017

ATTN: Staff

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How would you respond if you were alerted that your significant other liked an Instagram photo of a celebrity's butt? The Verge's Ashley Carman wrote about her response to this scenario, after she was notified (by a male friend) that her boyfriend liked the below photo of model Emily Ratajkowski.



A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on

Beyond her initial feelings of "confusion and dismay" (not anger), Carman was more interested in why we like celebrity's Instagram posts. She wrote the following (emphasis mine):

"Why did he like this photo? Is he so un-evolved that he can’t resist the allure of a butt pic? Obviously he liked the photo because he liked what he saw; I understand that, but I still don’t get it. It’s not like I’m afraid he’s going to leave me for @emrata, yet something about the action of his liking turns me off. At the core of my disdain, I think, is the fact that he likes models’ Instagram posts at all. Why like any celebrity’s photo? It’s not like @emrata saw his like and received a boost of serotonin from it. She wasn’t waiting around for him to see the photo, and probably isn’t even the one running her own Instagram. The same goes for all the Kardashians, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Drake. Liking one of their pics is just sending a like into the void solely to boost their numbers."

Her colleagues gave a variety of answers as to why they like celebrity Instagram posts, as did the cast of "Got Your Attention" when they were asked the same question: it's harmless, they're interesting, we just don't think about it that much.

Celebrity Instagram posts are, in a way, an extension of celebrity gossip magazines, as host Mike Vainisi points out on "Got Your Attention." We get to see the "inner lives" of celebrities—though the celebrity gets to control this medium (for better or worse). It's how celebrity births are announced, or first baby photos are shared.

And humans have a long history of being fascinated by gossip rags and the lives of the rich and famous—including "Lisztomania," which Medical Daily called "the intense fandom directed toward mid-1800s Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, who was both dashing and a talented musician," and probably even further back to Greek and Roman mythology, the Atlantic explains.

And while this may not explain why we compulsively "like" celebrity photos on social media, there has been plenty written on why we care about the lives of celebrities: it's been described as an escape or an easy "drug."

"The human brain is hardwired to tune into gossip, but there’s something different about celebrity gossip that sets it apart from everyday office chatter," Medical Daily wrote. A recent study showed that our brains have a "moderately strong" response to negative celebrity gossip.

We may also obsess over celebrities to learn "what high-status individuals do so you might more effectively become one," or to "better able to navigate the social scene," Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan, told LiveScience.

The LiveScience piece explains why celebrities would foster this relationship:

"Stars and the media exploit this tendency. Celebrities give interviews, share juicy information about their personal lives, and even engage directly with fans on sites such as Twitter. The result is that 'parasocial' relationships — the psychological term for the kind of one-sided relationships fans have with stars — are easier than ever.

"And reaching stardom seems also to be easier than ever. 'You have so many opportunities for celebrities to develop, because there are so many platforms,' said Stuart Fischoff, an emeritus professor of media psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. 'There's this explosion of celebrity possibility.'"

Whatever the reason that we're viewing or "liking," Sarah Gray, Omri Rolan, Mike Vainisi, and Katie Fleeman had quite a bit to say about this and other topics—Kim Weaver dropping out of a congressional race, how to teach climate change in coal country, a wedding that went viral for the wrong reason—on this week's "Got Your Attetnion."

Podcast notes:

Read more about the stories we did (and didn't) talk about this week on "Got Your Attention."

  • Kim Weaver, who was a potential opponent to Rep. Steve King (R) in Iowa, has dropped out of the race. The scary headline is that she was receiving death threats. But there are even sadder reasons why she dropped out that many Americans—and women in particular—can be sympathetic to.
  • Women more than men adjust their careers for family life, according to Pew Research.
  • Here's the response to Megyn Kelly’s interview with Putin: Trump critics thought she was light and pushed too many conspiracy theories; Trump supporters thought it was continued Trump bashing.
  • President Trump went on several tweetstorms recently, and beyond “covfefe,” he tweeted Monday morning about his controversial executive orders, which have been called a travel ban. Now, the "travel ban" has gone all the way up the the Supreme Court. The Department of Justice filed a petition over “a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., that blocked the Trump administration’s proposed limits on travel from six mostly Muslim countries,” according to the New York Times.
  •   Wonder Woman made over $100 million in its debut, which means it beat out "Thor" and the the two "Captain America" movies for an opening box office number.
  • Beyond being a little dismayed that her boyfriend liked a photo of a celebrity's butt on Instagram, this writer thought it was weird that her partner would like any celebrity photo at all.
  • There may be an upside to up-talk, LifeHacker reports.
  • A wedding went viral this week after the best man asked his girlfriend to marry him, while the current bride was walking down the aisle. The bride and groom say they felt completely upstaged.
  • Some teachers are having a tough time teaching climate change in coal country. This New York Times story explains.
  • Ten students accepted into Harvard had their admission revoked after they were caught sharing sexist, racist, and all around disgusting memes online.
  • Read this Philadelphia Inquirer story about how librarians in Philadelphia are actively training on how to administer anti-overdose drugs to help them deal with heroin addicts in the library. 

What is the "Got Your Attention" podcast?

If you've ever wondered how the staff pitch and select the stories that you read or watch on ATTN:, we're giving you an inside listen. ATTN: Media is excited to announce "Got Your Attention," a podcast where ATTN: staffers compete to have their pitches accepted by our host — while also unpacking some of the week's most important headlines.

The game is simple: Three ATTN: staff members—Senior Analyst Katie Fleeman, Senior Editor Sarah Gray, and Senior Social Trends Editor Omri Rolan—pitch their best stories to our host and Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi. If Mike picks their story, they get a point, and the four discuss the story.