OK, That’s Creepy: Internet Dating As It Currently Stands

internet

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.

objectification
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.

nomeansnoIt’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.

utopia
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?

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Throwing Crabs into the Sea: Making Changes in 2014

red crab

I’m going to say something that I’m sure you’ve seen plastered all over your Facebook news feed over the new years: 2013 wasn’t so great a year and I hope 2014 is better. I think we all say something along these lines every year, and it sucks that we do. But I mean, really, 2013 really wasn’t that great and while I don’t expect the best in 2014, I hope for it. In 2013 we had rampantculturalappropriation, rapey and misogynist music, health insurance controversies, sexist advertisements, racist killing justification, and multiplemassshootings. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some good things, but the extensive negatives evident in the year overshadow much of the good. 

So I guess there’s enough to indicate that 2014 isn’t going to be a whole lot different. But I still try to help out where I can. I read a story about a young man throwing crabs from the beach into the sea. When asked why, he said “They’ll die if I don’t help them.” When told that there “must be millions of them” and he “can’t possibly make a difference”, the young man threw another back into the ocean and says “It made a difference to that one.” So, I’m going to hope for a better year and do what I can to make it happen…and here are some of the things I’ll be hoping and working for.

female-ticket

I’m hoping for more women in political offices. This includes, but is not limited to Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte as Texas’ governor and lieutenant governor. I think that their ticket offers the best opportunities for educational focus, gender equality, and diversity in Texas. I mean, if Texas, a known red state and heavy in conservative attitude can come together and vote for two women pushing for progressive attitudes befitting this century, then I think it spells out good things for our country’s future.

rainbow_flag_and_blue_skies1

I’m hoping for an increase in gay marriage legality across the country. Utah is working hard right now to have equality in the marriage market, and 2013 showed a marked increase in states willing to step forward for what is moral and equal (with the addition of California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, and Hawaii) bringing us to 17 legal states. However, 33 states still ban same-sex marriage and that’s going to be a large barrier to cross. I have hope that we can move towards it, as 2013 (as bad as it was) showed the largest increase in years.

I’m hoping for a reduction in mass shootings…and dreaming of having none. Rachel Maddow told a story on the day of the DC Navy Yard shooting about the marked increase in the 12 worst mass shootings in our history. She talked of the first 6 happening over 50 years, while the last 6 happened with increasing frequency from 1999 to 2013. But those were also only the ones with 13 or more dead. 2013 alone had 365 mass shootings. 365. That’s enough for one every single day. While many of these shootings did not result in deaths, the sheer number of them is appalling. It’s too late now to hope that there won’t be any, but I have a sincere hope that there will be far fewer.

Overall, I’m just hoping that we do BETTER. I’m not looking for perfection, but I’m tired of this backsliding into the past. So do what you can to help. Donate time or money. Vote for your officials. Raise awareness for the issues in our society. And know that you may be only throwing a single crab back into the sea, but you’re still making a difference.

Make-a-Difference

So, what are you hoping for? What will you be working for? Which crab are you going to make a difference for?