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The meaning behind the most popular summer Instagram poses

Elise Solé
There’s meaning behind these intentional poses. (Photo: kellycoghlinn and signorina_piu via Instagram)

As we near Labor Day, we also bid adieu to the social media trends that defined the summer. From the Bambi pose to sandy cheeks and ribcage bragging, here are the most popular poses — and what they mean.


“This pose conveys power,” Susan Constantine, a body language expert who trains law enforcement and the Department of Defense, tells Yahoo Beauty. “There’s a loss of connection between the subject and the viewer — and it’s the woman’s choice to disengage.”


Hello, Helena Christensen in 1990’s “Wicked Games” music video. “Sand and dirt convey filth,” adds Constantine. “It’s very sensual.”


“There’s something very infantile about the way the model is sitting,” says Constantine. “She appears very sexual but also submissive and weak.”


“Throwing the hair back is similar to how peacocks spread their feathers,” she says. “It’s liberating, attention-seeking, and presents as a mating call.”


“This woman is showing how thin her body is — and she’s celebrating it,” says Constantine.


“I call this a ‘posed pose,'” says Constantine. “It’s very deliberate. Anytime someone puts their fingers to the mouth, it means that they’re holding back in some way. But when the mouth is slightly open, like we see here, it’s an attempt to attract someone.”


“There are two things going on here — the women are expressing the strength of their bond, as evidenced by their hands wrapped around each other’s waists,” she says. “But it’s also a very impersonal sexual invitation, since the women have their backs to the camera.”


Perhaps the most timeless social media pose, “beach legs” have been memorialized in memes such as “hot dog legs,” which challenges viewers to distinguish between a person’s legs and two hot dogs, and is a common way of announcing “I’m off the grid.” Adds Constantine, “I call this a ‘display pose’ because it’s a very self-aware way of saying, ‘Here I am.'”


“Here, it’s as though the body is presented as an art form,” says Constantine. “The arched back and the open legs convey confidence.”


“This is the picture of health,” says Constantine. “The person wants you to know that she’s organic, pure, and in charge of what she puts in her body.”

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