Are you the unhappy proprietor of an unwanted dick pic? There are a few next steps for you to choose from, ranging from ridicule to revenge
How do I respond to sneaks on social media?
Last month I received a Facebook message from a man twice my age with whom I had not had any contact since we worked together five years ago. In it he praised my physical attributes, the utmost of any reporter he had ever worked with in my 25 -year career.
It was Valentines Day. I sort of felt like crying. Instead I cast it back into the hellfire of my message petitions inbox but not before taking a screenshot and sharing it with our former mutual colleagues. Disgust shared is disgust halved, like smelling something so awful you have no option but to press it upon others.
Men, Im afraid this weeks column may have little to offer you, given that you are less likely to be sent the kind of messages girls receive with some regularity, from strangers and acquaintances alike.
You may think it sounds flattering or desirable. It isnt.
This particular missive constructed me aware that not only had I been objectified during a professional relationship, but that that especially memory had been resurrected half a decade afterwards
on Valentines Day . I spent the evening of 14 February 2012 watching a 9/11 documentary; this years was worse.
Why do men send messages like this?
an episode of This American Life, the Australian journalist Eleanor Gordon Smith confronted her catcallers in Kings Cross in Sydney and found that most thought females enjoyed “members attention”. When she told them that many, maybe even most, did not well, they werent convinced.
The excellent DTR podcast, being developed by Tinder for Gimlet, determined the same thing in its deep-dive into the sending of unrequested dick pics: an inexplicably common practice with uncertain aims. Its one thing to be sent an image of one youre already affiliated with but from a stranger?( NB: Im talking about straight men sending them to women here; I have been told it can be different for lesbian men .)
A psychology professor at Harvard University attempted to unpick the threads of the practice
in a blog post. He said it could be motivated by exhibitionism, or cognitive biases evolved to help with reproduction.
But the most likely explanation, he wrote, is that humen are simply misperceiving womens interest in receiving photos of their junk.
My sister has one Snapchat correspondent who sends her
merely dick pics. She hasnt blocked him so she has a quick rejoinder to people who doubt that theyre even a thing.
One such conversation prompted her to reply to the sender with a clip nearly cinematic in its executing: an opening shot of what seems to be her reciprocating with a sexy selfie, before panning to indicate a long line of her workmates, each making a lascivious gesture.
Of course there are other strategies like block, mute, report but when they are in most cases woefully inadequate, you can forgive women for get creative.
Naming and dishonor is a popular tactic, but it can easily get out of hand if “the mens” in question determined on retaliate, or “if hes” taken on as a martyr by the not-insignificant share of the internet nobly combating against feminazis. Im not telling you to pull your head in, but you should know this kind of answer can open you up to more abuse.
For serious instances, such as threats of rape and violence, publishing the messages with their writer attributed was in fact jeopardise your chances of getting action through the courts still the best system we have for dealing with online abusers.
But this sort of behaviour operates the gamut from trolls sending violent, targeted menaces hundreds of times a day to a woman they dont know, to a 50 -year-old man looking back fondly on the physical characteristics of a former colleague five years on.
None of it is acceptable, of course, but there are varying degrees of damage. To me, the occasional unsolicited dick pic doesnt feel like abuse, it merely feels a bit weird. Especially when youre in line at a coffeehouse, on the bus, or mid-meeting. To someone else, it might feel much worse.
If you feel like simply moving on from the episode, I suggest muting or concealing blocking can give the sender a sense of accomplishment( for some, the bar really is that low ). Reporting to the platform may not seem like it attains much, but it at least flags the problem and hopefully sets pressure on the moderators to take it seriously.
But if “youre like” me at my pettiest, youll be seduced to legislate some kind of justice yourself. Some women like to fight flame with fire by sending a generic dick pic back they dont like that! but I favor the
non-sequitur effect of emoji.
Why not respond to your correspondent with a commotion of
the most pathetic Trash Dove stickers, or a patronising thumbs-up? Youll wind them up, and it might construct the whole thing easier for you to laugh at. Maybe.