Are 'Instagram Husbands' really a thing?

Jeff Houghton played one of the long-suffering Instagram husbands Image copyright YouTube / The Mystery Hour
Image caption Jeff Houghton played one of the long-suffering Instagram husbands

A tongue-in-cheek video is highlighting the plight of "Instagram husbands" - those poor partners who are stuck miserably photographing the exploits of their loved ones. Its creators say it's a joke about the shallow nature of social media - rather than a comment on gender politics.

The upbeat music and candid, softly lit interviews are immediate tip-offs that you're watching yet another video raising awareness for a difficult issue. "My name's Jeff, and I'm an Instagram husband," it begins. "Behind every cute girl on Instagram is a guy like me. And a brick wall."

Image copyright YouTube / The Mystery Hour

As the camera follows three men whose lives have been transformed by their partners' photo-sharing feeds, the joke quickly becomes apparent - and increasingly ridiculous.

"I've had to delete all the apps off my phone just to make more room for more photos," says Trey. "I'm basically a human selfie stick." More positive about his role is Nate who even as his other half collapses while posing for a shot, moves in for a selfie and shouts: "I love my life so much!"

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The spoof was created by comedy group The Mystery Hour, has been watched more than 1.7 million times and is backed up by a website offering practical advice to those beleaguered husbands: "Speak in words she will understand, 'Honey, I feel like I'm living my life in Willow, and I want it to be Lo-Fi.' You don't have to know what that means, she will." (Willow and Lo-Fi are, of course, names of Instagram photo filters.)

Jeff Houghton acted in the video and tells BBC Trending it's an "exaggerated version of my own life" as well as that of his friends.

Image copyright YouTube / The Mystery Hour
Image caption A screenshot from the Instagram Husband video, which has been viewed more than 1.7 million times

Instagram skews heavily towards young people and women: according to one estimate, 68% of its users are female. Facebook and Pinterest also skew female, while Twitter and Tumblr are roughly balanced and Reddit and similar forums are predominately male, according to the Pew Research Center.

The comments underneath the Instagram Husband video on YouTube are generally positive, but a few people debated the gender dynamics behind the joke.

"I thought you were focusing on the male gender, but I can see you're clearly stating that women are crazy and narcissistic," commented one. Another said: "It's satire but we all know that to women men are nothing more than utilities."

But Houghton says the video was not intended as "a statement on gender roles", and that many of his friends have recognised a little bit of themselves in the spoof.

"They say 'That's me! Or - that's my husband!'" he says.

Blog by Nooshin Soluch

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