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Respect the Drip and Post a Thirst Trap in Quarantine

The Hidden Benefits of Showing Yourself Off

Left photo via Fupping, right photo via Socialite Life

By Talia Kliot


During the pandemic, I’ve been spending much more time on Twitter and have consequently noticed the onslaught of thirst traps posted by celebrities. From Ansel Elgort to Lil Nas X, our feeds have been bombarded with sultry pictures that leave little to the imagination. Either out of inspiration from these heroes or sheer boredom, many of us mere mortals have taken this time of isolation to experiment in the art of thirst traps. 


Dictionary.com defines thirst trap as a “sexy photo posted on social media to attract attention.” However, as is common with slang terms, there are multiple ways to interpret this phrase. While some Urban Dictionary definitions (I know, a reliable source) specify the need for the photo to be more provocative, others state that a picture of oneself with the direct or indirect purpose of attracting attention falls under the jurisdiction of a thirst trap. Emma, a Pure and Applied Science Dawson student and my thirst trap icon, explains that to her, thirst traps are “any photo with the intention of showing yourself off.”


While thirst traps often have a negative connotation associated with being conceited or having an unhealthy need for attention, Emma explains that when she posts thirst traps, it’s about reclaiming her identity and image. She says that as a woman, she feels like there have always been outside forces telling her how she is supposed to look, and she emphasizes the importance of being able to “control that aspect of her life” through the pictures that she posts. 


So much feels out of control right now, so it’s natural that anything in our power to change is becoming popular. We are used to seeing our friends and dressing up for school, and posting thirst traps can serve as a way to simulate some of the same feelings we get from knowing we look good or having someone to impress. It gives us the opportunity to show off an outfit, and the “thirst” or replies it generates can give us a self-esteem boost and even a sense of community.  A study published by Lancaster University found that taking and posting daily photographs has “complex health benefits,” which include self-care and community interaction. Exhibit A: Emma relayed an anecdote in which she replied to someone’s thirst trap when she had also just posted one and they went back and forth hyping eachother up.


While thirst traps may be salutary to those who post them, they can perpetuate an ideal beauty standard and be harmful to onlookers. However, that can be said about almost any social media post, and therefore shouldn’t stop people from sharing something that makes them feel confident. It is also important to consider that this practice can cause an increased dependence on validation from social media. Nonetheless, the people who post aren’t necessarily the ones to blame, but rather the culture of social media, which, for better or for worse, is not going anywhere. 


Whether thirst traps are your style or not, it’s hard to argue against the idea that quarantine is definitely a prime opportunity to try one out. Personally, I’ve never succeeded at a thirst trap, so I asked Emma for some advice on how to snap the perfect picture. 


 It gives us the opportunity to show off an outfit, and the “thirst” or replies it generates can give us a self-esteem boost and even a sense of community.

When asked about what makes a good thirst trap, she says, “it’s all about composition of the photo. It has to be interesting, visually, and it’s also all about the eyes, and the attitude.” Emma highlights the importance of setup before taking the photo: what you’re wearing, the music you’re listening to, and the mood you’re going for, all matter. Her personal thirst trap jam is Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode, but she stresses that it doesn’t matter what you listen to as long as it makes you feel good - and the same goes for the clothes you wear. She recommends first taking videos of yourself posing and then rewatching them so you can recreate the ones that work best. 


All that being said, I’ll definitely be trying my hand at a thirst trap. I love the idea of reclaiming my image - but don’t expect too much from me. In the meantime, if you’re debating whether to post one, just go for it. I’ll grab my water bottle and keep my eyes on Instagram, ready to cheer you on!



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