A satirical Instagram account called ‘Hot Migrants‘ is causing outrage online. It was set up by a seemingly pro migrant individual, but critics say it is “objectifying” and “disgraceful”.
“Handsome men on their journey to Europe. Their countries might be falling apart but their sex appeal still goes strong. Follow & Share”, explains the top of the page.
“Looking flawless in Lesbos?” reads one lighthearted caption below the screenshots of Syrian, Iraq and Afghan young men. “Waiting handsomely for a better life”, and, “just crossed from Greece”, say others.
The account has quickly accrued more than 2100 followers, but as with almost everything on the Internet, some people have taken it upon themselves to be offended.
“This whole account is a fucking mess – deliberate objectification and harmfully reductive commentary on people who’s [sic] lives hang in the balance.” wrote one commenter. “HOW IS THIS FUNNY. DELETE.” Added another.
The creator of the project, an anonymous 20-something from Washington, D.C. in the U.S., admitted that it was “objectifying” the migrants, but argued that humour was a good way to cope with difficult situations.
They told New York Magazine: “I created this account after watching a video from the refugees and migrants who were stuck behind the border fence in Idomeni.
“One of the people who was pleading for the borders to open caught my eye and I found myself recounting how many other times I pondered about some of these people’s fates. I got distracted by some of the good-looking men in the process.
“It’s a bit surreal to ‘objectify’ people who are fleeing war and broken countries … It is hard to overlook these people if you aren’t seeing them through their trek in Europe and it’s easy to dismiss them because the reality is far removed from you.
“These photos bring the realities a bit closer. There is something to be said about finding comedy in such a tragedy. It helps to cope with the situation.”