Is it OK to Make Fun of OKCupid Users?
Let’s begin with an explanation of how this article came about. OKCupid is the biggest free online dating site available, and with the acquisition of of Match.com has only served to secure its place as the leader of the business. It makes sense to use it if you’re single and looking – it casts the net out wider than any other service and gives you quick communication with other users. The flip side of the coin is that casting the net out that wide reels in a few nasty things with the catch.
This became the focus of a tumblr site that launched earlier in the year. ‘Nice Guys of OKCupid’ sought out OKCupid users who described themselves as the mythical ‘nice guy’ that women seek and juxtaposed their claims against some of their…disagreeable personality traits.
The ‘Nice Guy’ blog become immediately popular and attracted attention from major news networks, including the New York Times. It was seen as a response to an increasing trend towards self-entitled men who feel that being ‘friend-zoned’ is a deliberate ploy by women to shun them in favour of ‘douchebags’. This may not have been something worth bothering with, but the attitude was becoming commonplace on free dating sites. OKCupid responded to this blog quite harshly for the use of user profiles for comedy purposes and the site was closed following a cease and desist letter.
This being the internet about a dozen more quickly to take its place. Patterns began to emerge. The people claiming to be ‘nice guys’ often are seen wielding decorative swords, wearing fedoras, quoting internet memes and enjoying My Little Pony. It’s at the stage where it’s become a stereotype. The results of the blogs have ranged from the confusing…
…to absolutely frightening.
Much of the comedy that gets distributed on the internet is akin to cheeky notes being passed in class. Much of it is silly pictures and little witticisms that get sent around Facebook, Twitter and the like. Sometimes millions of people can wind up passing around and laughing at someone else’s misfortune. Nobody gives it a second thought as the subject of the humour is perceived to have brought it on themselves.
The growing popularity of the sites mocking members of OKCupid revels in this notion. I have found them to be hilarious and as a result I planned on a Top 10 Worst People on OKCupid. Not a few moments after this plan was formed was it followed up by the thought that this would be an immensely cruel thing to do. Could I justify the humour in the article by claiming that they had brought it on themselves with their out-dated values? It’s like laughing smugly at people who still oppose women having the vote…they’re so behind the times that it’s comical.
The notion of the article was posted on my personal Facebook and the opinion was divided. Some people voiced the idea that in this day and age expressing such antiquated or bizarre opinions on a public forum is setting yourself up for ridicule and people should be prepared for that. Others objected, claiming that it was bullying. While I’ve enjoyed following the blogs about the fedora sporting, militant atheists I couldn’t escape the feeling that I would be doing something crummy. That lead us to this article.
So back to the question at hand – is joining a free dating site setting yourself up for ridicule? It absolutely shouldn’t be. There is be a degree of trust when joining one of these sites and you’d hope that the other users wouldn’t breach this trust. These are every day people who are trying to make a connection and they should be offered the same chance as everyone else. Some of them are shockingly out of touch and there might be a very good reason why they’re dateless but publicly shaming them is not helping anyone.
In fact putting themselves up on these dating sites may allow someone the opportunity to steer them in the right direction because some of them are downright confounding.
Now that this stream of consciousness is coming to a close the only remaining question is whether or not I’ll be continuing to follow the blogs that focus on this comedy niche. There are new ones turning up week to week and being shut down by OKCupid almost as quickly, and even Cracked.com has done a feature on it. The stereotype of the fedora wearing, meme obsessed loner trying to meet women online is rapidly becoming the crazy cat-lady of the internet age, and like any comedy stereotype they’ll always be a place for them in the world of humour.
That being said, picking out profiles from a dating site and publicly shaming them shouldn’t be a thing we do as a society. Give them a chance, they may just find their perfect match.
A final note before you hit up the comments – yes, there is some hypocrisy in posting the images that are being discussed. The images used here are ones that have appeared on multiple sites and are very much in the public scope already. Their faces have been blocked where appropriate.
LOL, I think the title is a bit misleading. I thought you were saying free dating sites were ridiculous, but that’s not the case clearly. As for your question about whether or not we should be able to make fun of these people because they freely act ridiculous in an free open forum, I think you did a good job of answering your own question. Public shaming is bad.
Mmmm, good point. I’ll change the title.
Is putting yourself out there making you fair game? No.
Is being a misogynist d-bag making you fair game? You bet your MRA ass it is.
They’ll get their comeuppance with the total lack of dates they attract.
Whenever I see these people on Reddit or shaming sites, I get really curious about what their inbox/outbox looks like. No one would reply to them…..right?
I think Spamwow pretty much sums it up. There’s a big difference between making fun of someone for liking My Little Ponies or cheese top hats and mocking them for espousing regressive rhetoric and ideas. Social norms are unofficially enforced by society. That means that if we want misogyny to become a taboo, we as a society have an obligation to mock and shun misogynists.
I don’t think there’s a problem with public shaming them. I wouldn’t even necessarily call it “public” shaming. For the most part, the faces are blacked out and any other identifying features are obscured.
Anything posted on the internet is pretty much fair game anyway. People choose to put their information out there. I don’t think blogs that scour a dating site for comedy should be scrutinized any more than sites that comb Facebook for comedy, like Lamebook. I mean, sure, people on dating sites are more exposed than the multitudes of people on Facebook. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still public.
I don’t know how I would react if something I posted on a dating site (or anywhere else) was used for ridicule. Then again, I wouldn’t rock a fedora in a toy story or attack prospective dates’ personal tastes and beliefs while whining about past failures with women. So there’s that.
NB: I blacked out the faces for this article. On the shaming blogs they are unobscured.
Well that changes things then. lol. All’s fair if you make it anonymous. But if you leave someone open to truly public mockery, you’re the d-bag.
This is a nice article but I wish you’d proofread before posting. There are many typos, grammatical errors, and sentences that don’t make complete sense – i.e. missing the right verb tense.
We’re in the market for new editors. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Acid bath guy is funny, and scary too.
Reblogged this on singleinacollegetown and commented:
Maybe I should reactivate my account and try to date these guys! Those would be fun stories!
I have recently started using OKC, after a friend convinced me to, and yes there are some on there who lean toward the creepy and crazy. However, it is a great place for people to freely express themselves and find like minded people, especially in the geek/nerd community. Although I will admit to finding the shaming thing funny from time to time, I do not believe anyone deserves outright ridicule for trying to break out of their comfort zone and circle of friends to find people through the internet. BUT I do make sure to weed out the crazies, because there are a lot of those!