How Many Instagram and Social Media Pictures Are of Food?

While this article was originally published on March 3rd, 2015, it remains relevant in December 2019. Read the original article below.

Disclaimer: This article is based upon generalizations. Some guys can’t eat fries twice a day and stay thin. Some girls can eat cupcakes and pizza every day and never gain a pound. I am jealous of these girls. In fact, maybe I am writing this article to make myself feel better.

This article, as many of my articles are, is going to be opinion based. I am open to contrasting views, however, I have some very legitimate Instagram percentages to back up my claim. So my claim is this: I think that we have this odd obsession with posting pictures of our food. By ‘we’ I am referring specifically to females. I would also like to discuss the implications of posting pictures of our food.

When is the last time you were sitting in class watching a guy sift through food photos on Pinterest? Maybe it’s because they don’t utilize Pinterest as much, but really do you ever see a guy drooling over some amazing chocolate triple layer soufflé idly in class? I feel like I should get a food picture critic certificate along with my journalism degree at this point.

instagram-food-pictures-social-media

The female food obsession continues as I check Snapchat stories and Instagram. I feel like I see just as many wild crazy party snap stories as I do the late night food that proceeds the fun. Pizza and cheese fries are the two most popular late night meals of choice, in case you were wondering. A beautiful meal is apparently as striking as beautiful scenery or a great picture of yourself because Instagram too features an uncanny amount of food. Instagram features more ‘high quality’ meal options, such as a nice steak or an elaborate dessert. Snapchat is casual and messy, Instagram is artistic and sophisticated. Therefore food can be either classified as insta-worthy or snap-worthy. There IS a difference.

Of course, males post food from time to time. But as I sift through my snap stories, I see pizza after cookie after cheese fries-posted by girls. These posts are overwhelmingly more likely to come from my female social media friends for some reason. Here is my stab at the psychology behind it: D-I-E-T. The four letter word.

College is brutal on our metabolisms, which aren’t always the quickest anymore. We sit here with our slowing metabolisms drinking with Franklin’s selection of mainly unhealthy but delicious food choices in front of us. There are also late night cookie delivery services and then of course, there is more drinking. Life is caloric. Life is also this precarious balance between working out enough to eat and drink the delicious life around us- without ballooning. Guys, meanwhile, seem to scarf down a burger and fries twice a day and not even think twice about it. Fatty wonderful foods still feel like a treat for us girls. Treats deserved to be captured via photograph. For guys, it’s just another meal.

Posting food is not restricted to treats, however. Many girls (and occasionally guys) use these social media outlets to post the healthy things they are eating as well. As a healthy eater myself, I never think to post the brussel sprouts I just made for dinner. But many girls seem to like posting their healthy meal options maybe accompanied by a snap or photo of them working out.

People who enjoy cooking also are frequent food posters. It’s understandable to be proud of the cake or dinner you just made. I see pictures and snaps all of the time of food my friends have spent hours cooking. I am not naïve enough to claim that women cook substantially more nowadays than men do. But I will say that taking pictures of the final product definitely is an action that skews female.

To get a sense of whether women did actually post more food pictures than men, I looked at 5 female and 5 male Instagram accounts. I calculated the percentage of photos each person had posted that featured food (not drink). Here were my results:

Females
1. 5%
2. 7%
3. 9.5%
4. 13.5%
5. 12%

Males
1. 2.85%
2. 5.3%
3. 5.44%
4. 4.25%
5. 4%

Females overwhelmingly posted a way higher percentage of food pictures then men! “Gluten is a general term for all things bad in the world” was even the complete bio of one of the girl’s profiles. Girls like their food right?

The point of writing this article was not to discuss why females love posting food pictures so much. I wrote this to draw attention to the fact that this is a trend that seems to be gender specific. So next time you see pizza after pizza on your snap story, pay attention to who is posting it. I guarantee you it will be a “she.”


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