The Art of ‘Fuck You, I’m Hot’ Photos

The season for the perfect shot is upon us


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, ghosted you, 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 your crew 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.

Collage/illustration by Emily Zirimis; featuring an Hermès beach towel.


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  • Interesting timing. I couldn’t sleep last night and I was looking at photos of myself that I haven’t seen in a while. I forgot about this: summer 2006, age 17. I was already jaded from all the sexual harassment and objectification I’ve experienced. So this was more of a “Fuck you, you will not slut shame me. You will not censor me. You will not control me”

    • Amelia Diamond

      Or in the words of the first wives club…

      • Jai

        Amelia – my favorite scene of any movie ever.

    • Woop! Had that tank top back in the day!!

      • Abercrombie and Fitch? American Eagle? I forget, my mom got this at TJmaxx. xD

        • American Eagle! (I wasn’t allowed to shop at A&F ;))

  • Dear Amelia: awesome writing! Gotta poll those random strangers for insights, of course.

  • This is excellent. However, I’d have to say that Snapchat is my favorite outlet for giving the middle finger to my exes, since you KNOW that they saw the post and all. 😉

  • Sarah Said

    I love how all women share an unspoken understanding of the reciprocation re: team pics

  • Ha ha SO true. Absolutely loved this article…and have seen so many FYIAH photos on Facebook and never realised they had a specific title. Fuck yeah.

    Katie xx ¦ La Coco Noire

  • Absolutely adore this! What a great article enjoyed that cheeky Good Will Hunting reference!

  • Loved this. So true!

  • Jolie

    I’ve taken many a “FYIAH” photo. Factors include: visible cleavage, a filter that makes my eyes look way more colorful than they are, the end results of a Topshop binge, location tag in a cool place, doing things I hate to do — like hiking or going to the gym, etc. Getting that “like” from the person you posted the picture for is way too rewarding.

    • Amelia Diamond

      “the end results of a Topshop binge” hahaha

  • Helena

    I’ve yet to master the art of FYIAH photos but yesterday my friend told me that I’m the master of ‘Fuck you, I’m smart and funny and better off without you’ Facebook posts/comments, and that’s something, no? NO?

    • Amelia Diamond

      Oh that’s better than something that’s the BEST

  • leonorjr

    but, Baby Sparkles, you are hot ALL THE TIME.

  • Emma

    Basically just reinforcement that women are only as good as their appearance

    • Amelia Diamond

      Not the intention here at all. Women are not only “as good as,” we are as *great as* all of our billions of wonderful qualities and weird quirks and nuances and complications and talents and smarts. Posting a photo that explodes with confidence (because definitions of “hot” varies individual to individual, right) is part of the fun. (Also, here’s why that caption is so important. A picture’s worth a thousand words and all that but the caption helps you FLEX.)

  • Elizabeth Tamkin

    I REALLY think both genders do this. But I’ve seen guys take photos with other girls to get the benefit of the females ability to take a mean FYIAH photo.

  • Pia Sophie

    amen re: the importance of captions. and how first-season-bradshaw-ish of you to conduct a poll!