Welcome to the era of the online feminist vigilante! A great article in The Atlantic this week highlighted a new breed of women on the internet: those committed to exposing the ‘creeps’ circulating on dating sites such as Tinder, OkCupid, Match.com, and others.
We live in a world that is so digitally interconnected that sexism, harassment, and general creepiness have moved well beyond real-life interaction. Hiding behind their computer (or phone or iPad) screens, certain men think it’s ok to talk to women—women they are allegedly trying to chat up in the hopes of striking a connection, a friendship, or maybe more—in the most disgusting manner.
The article talks about a young lady called Alexandra Tweten, who fed up with the vulgar and inappropriate messages her and her friends were getting on dating sites, started the Instagram account, Bye Felipe, dedicated to “calling out dudes who turn hostile when rejected or ignored.” The name is a play on on “Bye Felicia,” a meme about a not-very-nice person leaving a party—and not being missed. The first post was on October 14 and the account already has over 10,000 followers. My favorite (above) shows an exchange with a fella who thinks, “girls have too much freedom.”
This guy should get a job at the secret service: he was able to hack the privacy settings on a Facebook account.
Because the girl this guy was trying to chat up didn’t reply in five hours, he called her a “fuckin tranny.” And how is that an insult anyway?
As Tweten points out, she started the account to question what “makes [men] think that it’s okay to message someone like that?” She also acknowledges that, at the same time, it is funny as it underlines the desperation of these guys. But if your self-esteem isn’t intact, if you’re having a bad day, if, if, if, a plethora of other reasons, being called a “cunt,” “ugly,” “dumb,” or “a whore,” whether in real-life or in the digital domain, is NEVER ok.
Straight White Boys Texting is in the same vein: A Tumblr page which collates crude texts from well, straight white boys. Call a spade a spade.
Creepy White Guys posts messages from “creepy white guys with Asian fetishes.” This BuzzFeed article lists some of the offensive comments men say to Asian women on dating sites. It has to be read to be believed. What give you the right to call an Asian woman a “lotus flower.”
Dudes of Tinder posts screenshots of guys on Tinder with, let’s say, ‘inflated’ egos or no self-esteem at all (both very attractive qualities). The guy above can even take a beating for you.
These anecdotes are so resonant with us girls because most of us have at least one story (or many more) of unsavory digital interactions of our own. I met a guy at a party once: we danced, we talked, we made out, we had a great time…on the night. The next day he texted me but by then my alcohol haze wore off and I realized I didn’t want anything with him so I politely declined his offer to meet up and told him I didn’t want to continue our conversations. He persisted and persisted and persisted. I was nice and honest and didn’t lead him on but when he persisted even further (read: stalkerish), I got forthright and told him to piss of. I wish I still had the text (read: essay) he sent me. It went on to say how he just wanted to be friends and nothing more (would you call your friends “sexy”) and that I’m a bitch and who wants to be friends with me anyway—you get the drift. If we play along with men like these if we’re not interested, we’re “cockteases”. If we are honest and upfront, we’re “bitches.” We can’t win. But with sites like Bye Felipe and Straight White Boys Texting, we can have little victories along the way.
Title image source: Corbis, via Huffington Post