A Second Look at Instagram

Better2gether is on Instagram! That’s right, our handle is @better2gether88. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking ‘what’s the big deal? Isn’t everyone on Instagram?’ And that’s exactly the point. But not just everyone, but more importantly — everyTHING is there.

For the last month I’ve spent a lot of time trying to build up a presence on this form of social media and what I’ve learned is astonishing. I was speaking to a friend the other day and he mentioned that teenagers are no longer on Facebook, they’re all on Instagram. And I think there’s a reason for that. The standards of Instagram are much lower than that of Facebook. The amount of sexual content there is startling. But it goes beyond the endless plugs for porno sites. It pervades so many of the average “joes” (or should I say Joettes) that post there.

There’s a trick you can do when navigating this visual world. If you bounce between accounts, keep your eye on the number of followers. If the number is listed as something like 41K there are generally only two possibilities of this person is. The first is obvious– they’re a celebrity of sorts. Most likely one that all of us would recognize. The second is much more disturbing: it’s a woman, probably a teenager, and they have a plethora of sexually suggestive pictures (at best), but most likely they’re showing more than just a suggestion. Now that’s not to say that there aren’t many positive things happening on Instagram. But the segment of that community that chooses to expose their bodies in these ways, are not only degrading themselves but also the concept of sexuality.

This begs the question: why are these people doing this? As far as I can surmise we have a real problem on our hands because this behavior has everything to do with these individual’s sense of self worth. When I first set up our account there was a point when we jumped from having very few followers to having close to 430 follower (a ridiculously insignificant number in comparison to the number of followers people get which could be in the millions). When this number jumped up and I began receiving a substantial number of ‘likes’ and it was such an exciting feeling. I felt like I was succeeding and breaking into something that could potentially make my business succeed. It felt great! And that’s when I realized what was happening here. These young girls’ entire self esteem is completely wrapped up in their number of followers and likes. What else would motivate someone to post multiple pictures of themselves of that nature daily? The only other answer is they get off knowing that someone is turned on by a picture of themselves. But those two ideas are one and the same. Both make the person being viewed feel worthwhile and desired.

So one may ask why Better2gether is spending time in a place like this? And the answer is simple. Our presence on Instagram is congruent with the vision that we’ve had since our inception. Our entire business is built and lives in a world whose values are opposite ours. Unlike our competitors, our’s is not a sex toy site. Better2gether is a place where individuals and couples can visit to better themselves and their relationships. We pride ourselves in the fact that even though the easiest way to sell our products would be to litter our site with lewd images, we refuse to do so. We refuse to do so not simply because it is halachically forbidden, but also because we believe that sexuality and intimacy is something that need be lauded and not degraded. And we hope that our presence can help improve sexuality for the masses. But we know that building healthy sexuality takes longer than an instant.

About the Author
Natan Alexander has been in education and community leadership for 15 years. He received Smicha (Rabbinical Ordination) from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. He is the founder and CEO of Better2gether, a website that helps religious and conservative couples improve their physical and emotional relationship in a modest way.