Social Media has changed the face of how we communicate. This is especially true when it comes to how men and women interact with one another. While technology has it's benefits, it's also given people the green light to engage in unacceptable behavior.
Now, I'm not saying that women don't behave badly through these mediums but I find it more prominent with men. Not all men mind you but it's definitely become an issue.
I had a very scary situation happen to me not too long ago with a guy who I met on a dating app who completely terrorized me for an entire week. It turned my entire life upside down.
I am angry and frustrated with many of the men on social media who think it's perfectly acceptable to harass women. A woman can't reveal her naked breasts on Facebook but a man can take a photo of his naked penis and send it to a woman?
Think about it for a moment. What's the difference between exposing yourself in public and exposing yourself via a text message? Anonymity allows really fucked up behavior that is not OK and is likely to go unpunished.
The first time I received a dick pic I was shocked. My first thought was why does this guy think it's OK to send me something so crude and downright offensive. No, more like aggressive!
What the fuck goes through their heads for them to think, "I'm going to take a photo of my penis and send it to a woman and she's going to love it." WTF!!!
I for one don't enjoy seeing random men's penis' and that shit you can never unsee. It's burned into your memory forever. I receive up to 3 a day via Snapchat and it's come to the point that if I don't know the person who's sending me a Snap then I don't even bother opening it. I rarely accept friend requests because of this and it's a shame because as a blogger I'm trying to grow my following. But these fuckers are making it impossible.
I mentioned social media standards but I believe it's standards in general. I was talking to my friend John from Boston Attitude, who also has a website which you can read here, about this very topic and here's what he had to say.
"Guys have lost the gentleman standard, and women allow it. Somewhere between the movie Jack Ass and the Real World/Jersey Shore BS, people don't know that reality TV isn't REAL LIFE".
He went on to say, "Women also need to raise standards, I see couples going out. She's all dressed up and he's in sweat pants. Women need to start saying "we ain't going out with you dressed like that', It's an issue".
I completely agree with both statements. Why are we allowing this sort of behavior and lowering our standards in general. Not as men and women but as human beings.
The subject of men and inappropriate sexual behavior on social media has to stop but I don't think it's going to. John told me that multiple women have reached out to him about how every woman on social media has this problem. And it doesn't have anything to do with age, race, social status or background.
Verbal abuse is another hot topic. I get several propositions from men on a daily basis. They range from simply asking me out to wanting to meet up for sex to very graphic emails telling me what they'd like to do to me. Most of the time I simply decline or not respond at all but the more aggressive messages need to be addressed. I go from being annoyed to being downright terrified.
My man isn't too pleased with any of this and I can't say I blame him. He is super protective of me and would move heaven and earth to make sure I'm safe. By no means is he acting out of jealously but pure love and respect for me. And god help next person who crosses the line with me. I would not want to be on the receiving end of that shit show.
Look, I know I discuss sex on my blog and I also post photos on Instagram that push the envelope but that is not an invitation to be disrespectful. It plays into the whole topic of if you go out and you're wearing something revealing that it gives men the right to say inappropriate things to you.
I'm not one to dress up very often but when I do, it's for me and me alone. I don't do it for attention and I certainly don't do it to impress anyone. I work my ass off to look the way I do but it's to be healthy, not to attract unwanted attention.
Honestly I don't have an answer but I think more laws need to be put into place to protect ourselves. After my terrifying ordeal I now carry mace with me. I realize that this is an extreme case but I should feel safe walking around without thinking that some guy who follows me online thinks it's perfectly acceptable to stalk me.
I tried researching laws surrounding inappropriate behavior on social media and I was shocked to see that while they exist for Cyberstalking or Cyberbullying there is nothing saying that sending an unsolicited dick pic is against the law. Obscenity laws are in place however they don't pertain to cell phones because these laws were put into place before they even existed.
So my question is how do we as women protect ourselves from some random guy sending us unsolicited graphic photos, inappropriate messages and harassing us online?
Let me know in the comments below
It’s pleasing to see that this kind of cyber harassment is finally being taken seriously – after all, an unwanted dick pic is just as bad as someone standing and flashing at you in the street. It’s still a violation, still unsettling and uncomfortable for women, many of whom have been victims of unwanted sexual contact before. There’s this weird idea that because it’s online it’s somehow totally fine – there’s no direct threat, sure, but it’s still deeply unnerving. There’s this sinister undertone, a sexually aggressive thread that runs through messages like that, whether it’s from someone you know or not.
So what could this new police support mean for the rest of us; those of us who are sent unsolicited dick pics on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp or on dating sites? Could this be the start of a glorious new age of penis-free browsing?
I’d love to be hopeful here, but… probably not. While a certain type of man still exists, there’s probably going to be a woman on the end of some pretty shitty harassment, and there’s going to be a bunch more people who couldn’t care less.
How we conceptualise this stuff is fairly telling. I often tell friends who don’t live online about the massive amounts of harassment I, and other women, get, and even when they understand how horrible it is there’s still the sense that simply existing online is invitation for this kind of stuff. It’s jarring, really, because none of those people would ever say a woman deserved to be flashed because they were wearing a revealing outfit or dared to leave the house alone. So why is it different online? Why is merely being a woman on Tinder invitation for sexual harassment? We might want to get laid, sure, but that doesn’t mean we want to see a close up of your genitals. Even on a date, when the promise of sex might be looming heavily on the horizon, someone (hopefully) wouldn’t whack their dick out for no reason.
I'm rock hard, FYI
So why is it fine online? Why do we make it seem like it’s harmless? Even the term “dick pics” is pleasantly inoffensive, an assonant soundbite that removes any of the threat from the act. It’s the complete antidote to the feeling of skin-crawling discomfort they actually invoke.
And to say “dick pics are a feminist issue” is like a hilarious spoof clickbait headline, but it’s true – all women want is to exist in a public space, whether that be the train to work or the internet, without being reminded of the visceral sexual horrors of living in a phallocentric patriarchy. The thing about unsolicited dick pics is they really do bring you down, make you feel like you’ve been put in your place. You’re just going about your day, doing your thing, when suddenly you’re reminded that your comfort and safety is secondary to the sexual pleasure of men. To be ineloquent: it sucks. It really sucks.
For progress to be made, we need to understand that unsolicited sexual images aren’t funny or harmless, and we should stop assuming that existing online is invitation or explanation enough for receiving them. We need to stop being twee about it, stop saying “lol, got another dick pic!” or thinking that we’ve deserved this unwanted attention simply by being present on the internet. Hopefully, in time, not only will public opinion change, but the law will come to reflect it too. And that’ll be a good day for all of us.