As it turns out, being female on the Internet isn’t all Instagram likes and daily deals sites. Every day women face harassment both minor and significant through social platforms, dating sites and comment sections that can range from a supposedly flattering remark about their appearance to terrifying rape and death threats. And you don’t need to be a budding social media star with a well-groomed personal brand to attract the ire of the Internet.
Of course, nowhere is the cruel and cavalier treatment of women online more prevalent and unabashed than online dating websites. Women who’ve drummed up the nerve to put themselves out there, quantifying their likes and dislikes into neat little boxes to attract someone to love or sleep with or just have a drink with, are subject to sexual harassment and maltreatment that’s difficult to fathom if you haven’t experienced it firsthand.
Perhaps armed with this knowledge, one male Redditor attempted to see exactly what women go through when engaging in online dating. According to a post in Two X Chromosomes, one of the only corners of Reddit that’s particularly female-friendly, he used a friend’s photo (with her permission) to create an OKCupid account in order to experience being a woman online for himself.
He lasted two hours.
Under the throwaway handle OKCThrowaway22221 he writes:
Guys would become hostile when I told them I wasn’t interested in NSA sex, or guys that had started normal and nice quickly turned the conversation into something explicitly sexual in nature. Seemingly nice dudes in quite esteemed careers asking to hook up in 24 hours and sending them naked pics of myself despite multiple times telling them that I didn’t want to….
I would be lying if I said it didn’t get to me. I thought it would be some fun thing, something where I would do it and worse case scenario say “lol I was a guy I trolle you lulz”etc. but within a 2 hour span it got me really down and I was feeling really uncomfortable with everything.
OKCThrowaway22221’s experience on OKCupid is just one of a series of recent experiments that have thrust the difficulties of online dating into the spotlight. Cracked writer Alli Reed recently created the worst online dating profile she could possibly imagine, and still got an onslaught of messages from interested dudes. Guess there’s no accounting for taste.