Tagged as feminism, okcupid online dating,
March 24, 2013
Cupid’s Chokehold (and being a Violent Femme)
I was supposed to go to dinner with some of my work ladies tonight, but plans fell through. No yummy Japanese food after all! So instead I accidental napped; planned thirty minute nap turned into five hour nap which is fine because I probably needed the sleep.
In any case, I decided to spend the rest of my waking night reading and
drinking wine, which sounds like a perfect Saturday night for this old lady.
What’s the topic of discussion of tonight? Really just highlighting an interaction I had with some dude who made me irritated, but made me think :).
Oh boy. Embarrassing confession. I have an OK Cupid account. Yup, as in I have a profile on an online dating site. I’ve had it since I was about 20, and it started off as a joke. Like girls often do, my best friend Nessa and I made this pact when we were in high school that if we weren’t married by the time we’re 50 (or some faraway age) we’d just marry each other. Awwww. So while she already had an account to take advantage of the online quizzes, an awesome time waster for insomniacs, I made a profile too so we could see what our actual compatibility was.
I never really talked to anyone on there, because being in Erie there was NO ONE I was even remotely compatible with to begin with, and being in college and the young professional scene finding dates didn’t seem too difficult. Also, being in a relationship for about 3 years in this time meant I didn’t log on for massive spans of time.
Anywho, I only started actively using it in November when
I moved back to Pittsburgh, because I really just wanted to make new friends, and I’m not interested in doing this by checking out the bar scene.
Despite having a disclaimer in my profile that clearly states I’m only on there for friends, I get many messages a day from guys that range from lude to just, sad.
I gave up awhile ago on finding cool new girl friends to have SATC- like nights, Cosmos and all on this website, which is fine because with work and my old college friends I’m back to having a pretty good social life. I keep meaning to just delete my OKC profile, but the messages I get are just so interesting that it’s become a fascinating and guilty pleasure of mine to see what horrible, pathetic things guys say. I feel bad saying that, but at the same time not really, because it’s so abundantly clear that the VAST majority have made no effort to read my profile, because if they did they’d know that I’m not a 12 year old, nor do I have poor self esteem, so any variation of “has anyone told you how beautiful you are?” is just really ineffective. Also, I don’t respond to sweetie, beautiful, cutie, or any other lame pet name, because, that’s not my name!
I also noticed a pattern when I initially tried to engage people and say, “hey, no thanks, as I said in my profile I’m not looking to date on here!” While a couple of guys were nice, a lot reacted with anger and sent back really nasty messages. So interesting. It reminds me of college, when the only times I ever got called a slut by a guy was when I *wouldn’t*, would NOT, put out. Which still baffles my mind.
Anywho, I ignore most of the 10+ messages a day, unless someone seems legitimately cool to talk to, in which case I can have rad discussions about philosophy or bands or what have you that I wouldn’t normally have otherwise. And I still get super irritated when guys send messages that are deeply patronizing and awful, but 99% I don’t bother to respond, because it’s not worth my time or effort, and as I said above typically yields erratic responses. For example of how bad these get, this is one of the more recent ones:
“Hey! You know I been all over the world when I was in the Army but never came across a prettier lady then you :). I’d love to get to know you some more!
If you haven’t considered it you really should get into modeling. You are 100 times prettier then the ladies who have done work for my non profit :)”
Alright, let’s dissect this bullshit. “Have you considered modeling?” Are you effing serious? The sad thing is, I’ve gotten this line before, and it kills me, because a) do guys think we’re this stupid to believe that line? b)if they bothered to read my interests/hobbies, I have pin up modeling listed, so glad to know they didn’t read and c)if they even bothered to read the CAPTION on one of my pictures, it’s obvious I already have modeled. How lazy are we?
Then, apparently in order to compliment me, he needs to put down the other women he works with. Why the hell is that necessary? Oh yes, because I obviously have low self-esteem and need to be reassured that I’m prettier than other girls. Jesus.
And then I love the part where he subtly throws in that he has a non profit. Ladies (apparently not very good looking ones) work for you? You’re a man with power but with a heart because it’s a non profit? OMGAH swoon.
Yeah, not responding to that. So, I get messages like that all the time, and frankly it’s not incredibly flattering to begin with, because I feel like to get this attention on dating sites the criteria is fairly low; I have a pulse? Check. I don’t resemble the creature from the Black Lagoon? Check! But yesterday I got this gem, and I actually felt compelled to respond:
First off, in my Moscato-buzzed annoyance I almost, almost pulled a complete Taylor Swift, but then my judgment caught up and I opted to not post that picture unedited.
So, I gave a response and included a link to the article that I wrote about this topic almost three years ago: http://jessicarabbid.com/2010/08/25/bikini-blog-part-i/. I explained that the idea that me only being able to celebrate my brain OR my body is archaic. “Pin up that is cheeky and self aware, that has something to say about the status quo is totally rad. Also, making the choice to never engage in airbrushing is a political statement in of itself. So much of what we see in the media is models chosen by men, their poses, clothing, airbrushing, every aspect of the process is dictated by someone else, and then an unrealistic idea of beauty is sent out for mass consumption. I felt it was pretty damn cool to add images to the landscape that are real, because it is imperative that women see themselves in the media. I also controlled my image, the shots taken, etc. which, again, makes the whole thing an act of defiance to the status quo.” That was all typed while waiting in line at the grocery store today, too. So yay me.
And then this: “You realize everything you do to look more attractive is in accordance to what men find attractive, right? Don’t shave your legs for a week and don’t do your hair and take some pictures of that, and then maybe I’ll take you seriously.”
Now, what I love about this, is that apparently in order to be labeled a proper feminist to this person, I’d have to force myself into a particular “look” that would be unnatural to me, and is just as restrictive to me as the regular beauty ideal is for so many women. That, is actually extremely anti-feminist, because feminism is all about choice. Now, clearly this dude knows nothing about feminism, because me as a feminist isn’t defined by what I wear or what I make myself look like, it’s what I do. And while I’ve already made the argument for pin up, my work as a sexual violence victims’ advocate, helping the president get elected twice, and writing and implementing curriculum that is empowering for middle school students pretty much secures my feminist card. Also, what the hell feminist credentials does this asshat have?
I suppose what got me was the arrogance and utter naivety of making these statements about feminism with clearly no knowledge and context. And, the ever popular method of pushing women into different boxes. It might be labeled differently, but it’s still a box. I like doing my hair and makeup. I love dressing up. And I like doing it for me. In fact, most of the guys I’ve dated always told me the obligatory “I think you look perfect without any makeup” so dressing up for them was moot anyways. Even with the whole shaving thing, hair grosses me out! While I get that some women like to not shave their legs, whether it is personal preference or going against what they feel is a repressive ideal, I personally just get grossed out. To not shave my legs, “because I’m a feminist” would be counter-intuitive.
This is something I’ve dealt with before. I remember a women’s studies professor say that she had more important things to do than do her hair, makeup, workout, and keep up with fashion. The thing is, if she doesn’t care about that stuff, fine! But I remember feeling really uncomfortable that she felt the need to simultaneously put down women (me included) who do like to do that, whatever their reasons.
I’m not sure when the switch happened, because I can vividly remember getting ready for homecoming junior year of high school and crying because I didn’t want to get dressed up, and before that arguing with my mom in eighth grade that cute capris were totally acceptable for my formal Catholic school graduation, rather than a dress.
But at some point, I started having a lot of fun with my appearance, experimenting with different fashions, various facial piercings, and of course dying my hair so many different colors that I’m amazed it hasn’t fallen out yet.
I’m aware that my appearance is fleeting and transient, so I like to switch it up a lot. I now really enjoy doing my hair and makeup, wearing dresses, and feeling “pretty.” And, what’s awesome is, that’s my choice, and it makes me feel like, well, “me.”
This went off in a different direction than anticipated, and I guess with Moscato-infused writings that is par for the course.
In any case, I will always write about the things I care about, do what I can to effect change when it comes to reproductive rights, sexual violence issues, LGBT issues, and everything in between, and dammit, I’ll do it all with a giant flower in my hair!