The Art of ‘Fuck You, I’m Hot’ Photos





The millennial female’s middle finger is a well-filtered Instagram photo with just the right caption.

Obviously we can’t flip anyone off with our actual middle finger anymore because it’s too busy cradling the back of our phone, but that’s fine: the “Fuck You, I’m Hot” photo is not only a more subtle clap back, it is, on so many levels, way more satisfying.

Abbreviated, “Fuck You, I’m Hot” becomes “FYIAH.” (That “A” popped in there when we took out the apostrophe — a nice little addition that kind of makes FYIAH look like FIYAH, as in fire, pronounced with Matt Damon’s accent in Good Will Hunting. This is fitting: you are on fire when you post one. It is your moment.)

Here’s how it goes down.

Let’s say you’re seeing someone. Now let’s say you’re suddenly not! Who knows why — this person cheated on you, broke up with you, ghostedyou, the list goes on. But now you need both the world and the dumper to be clear: you are doing very, very well, thanks. The easiest way to communicate this? Through a “Fuck You, I’m Hot” photo.

(Note: FYIAHs can also be posted as a response to a dramatic lovers’ quarrel or when there is no actual drama at all but your goal is to get a certain someone’s attention. Ahem!)

FYIAH shots cover a few different visual scenarios. There’s the beach pic — this one’s a classic. It’s a way to show a lot of yourself while still feeling appropriately dressed, versus, say how you might feel documenting a view from the bath.

(If the latter doesn’t bother you, congratulations! That’s advanced FYIAH, phase two.)

And then there’s the Team pic, for which you are given veto power by yourcrew to bypass their various “I look gross in that one” complaints and post a shot that is all about you. You are also offered empathy and patience when the photo needs to be taken again and again and again with the understanding that in the event of turned tables, you would reciprocate.

Next, we have the “Me Time” pic, which can include the bath shot, though more typically the “Me Time” involves you looking hot while doing something active and healthy.

There are also Environment pics: photos intended to show that you are in a better place, both geographically and mentally, than you were when involved with Whatshisface.

As with any text that accompanies a strong visual, your caption holds at least 40% of the photo’s power. It must be vague enough that you could never be called out, but passive aggressive enough that the recipient gets your message. It could be as simple as a single, perfect emoji. It could be an inside joke. The keyboard is your oyster and you are a pearl. (Word to the wise, though: no quotes.)

The time of day you post must be considered: will this person for whom I don’t give a damn have phone access, service and enough emotional bandwidth to experience a visceral reaction? You’re not posting this for no one to not see it.

Likewise, the poster should be considered. If Ugh, Whatever follows your best friend, try to get her to post the FYIAH photos for you. Not only does this make you look loved and innocent (“Oops! Didn’t see you there with all this wind in my hair”) it reinforces the fact that you do not give a fuck.

An informal poll among humans at bars and in group chats informed me that while women may be able to unpack the meaning of your strategically-angled collarbone, men are like, “I’ll get to it eventually, or just keep living out of this suitcase.” They see that you look good and happy and shiny, but…they’re likely never going to admit that they were wrong. If they want you back, it’s because they had a “change of heart,” not a scroll through Instagram.

But whatever. According to Beyoncé, the best revenge is your paper. And since social media impressions are this generation’s truest form of currency, that middle finger of yours is now worth at least a million bucks.

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