I linked to a post on Facebook last week by Amanda Hess that discusses why the internet is an unwelcoming, and in fact unsafe, place for women. I had always known that was true, but the article goes into a lot of depth on issues that I have had little frame of reference for as a man. However, that does not mean that I don’t understand and don’t see how horrible it all is. I mean, really, why is it so hard for people to see that women don’t deserve that type of treatment? And yet men continue to see women as objects—and hyper-sexualized ones at that.
Even Zombie victims are not exempt, apparently
I don’t think it’s any mind-blowing news or anything, but this hyper-sexualization of women is even more obvious online than anywhere else, and perhaps nowhere is it more apparent than in online dating.
Now I don’t mean to discount the viability of online dating for women. I have had many friends succeed in it (and many more fail to get anything out of it) so that is not my intention here. My intention here is to point out that many men use it as an opportunity to fall prey to societal norms and harass women. Now maybe it’s because it’s a bit more anonymous than face-to-face interaction. Sure, they have profile pictures, but everything on their profile can be very easily falsified and usernames are used rather than real names. Sure, there’s a possibility that they can be recognized on the street, but the likelihood of that occurring is pretty minimal. So maybe it’s that. I honestly cannot fathom any other reason that this…obscene harassment continues unabated, and that’s not even a good reason—it’s just a reason.
And that it continues is not exactly news. There’s a reason there are so many horror stories out there regarding online dating and why it still hasn’t completely dodged the social stigma. I mean with these messages being some of the more tame messages, can it really be that shocking that there are blogs that have made jokes of online dating by writing horror stories about them? Horror stories that I thought were 100% real—at least until I thought about how absurd some of them were. It can’t really be a shock that there are other blogs that show some of the more despicable messages and seriously creepy men that message women.
It’s really not that hard to understand
What is news is that men are starting to realize how horrid it is for women and how horrible men in the online dating world can actually be. There’s the story about the woman who created the most despicable character she could, hoping to drive away men and prove that it was better out there than she was told. Turns out, some men will take even a gold-digging, manipulative, egocentric, and racist woman if it turns out that she’s attractive. Or the story of the man who created a gender-swapped profile of himself and couldn’t last two hours with the amount of harassment and sexual messages that were coming to him.
All in all, these stories being presented prominently are a good thing, I think. Sure, there are men out there who continue to perpetrate this disgusting narrative, but it’s coming to the forefront and being recognized as a problem. Hopefully, that means that things will change as awareness rises. I’m not certain that’s actually true, but I’m hoping for it. Because when it comes down to it, I think that online dating is a great way to meet someone when you’re living a busy life. It just supremely sucks that so many men ruin it for everyone else.
Ah, my dream home…
But maybe I’m being an idealist and this will go no where and do nothing. But hey, I’m just gonna be over here, taking note, and hoping for the best. We’ll see, won’t we?
Filed under: Feminism | Tagged: creepy, equality, feminism, future, gender, gender equality, internet, match.com, OKCupid, online, online dating, women | Leave a comment »