Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The sexploitation of men on public transportation reveals gender hypocrisy

I don't know who Dan Juan is, not even if that's his real name or just a clever play on "Don Juan," but his recent on-line column in the Yahoo! UK & Ireland Lifestyle section was very frank and courageous in its admissions.
Women riding the London subway system have been taking photos of their travelling male counterparts that they consider hunky and posting them on a "sexy Tube" website for other rapacious females (or male homosexuals) to ogle over. Here's the catch: the men in question have no idea they're being shot. The photos on Tubecrush are all of guys whose privacy and right to be anonymous have been violated, as Juan points out.
As it's only men who are being secretly photographed, Juan alleges that it's sexist. I agree. Can you imagine a website on which women's photos were posted without their consent and treating their images as mere fodder for silly, lustful, and/or dirty minds? The howls of outrage from the so-called fairer sex would be eardrum-splitting. So why should we guys accept the same treatment?
Juan writes: "It's brazen objectification of men, with photos accompanied by demeaning innuendos like, 'this guy has a package that won't fit in a normal letterbox.'" Again, just imagine a man writing in a thread underneath a picture of a woman whose right to privacy has just been gang-raped: "Oh, I could smother myself in those jugs!"
One of the replies to Juan's objections, I thought, nailed the bewildering difference in attitude that has made Tubecrush so successful: "[M]ost of the men in TV and magazine adverts are also impossibly good looking—the difference is men aren't allowed to moan and complain about it without being ridiculed and told to grow a pair, whereas a woman has carte blanche to complain all she wants."
It's been obvious to me for years now that most men are willing to be bullied by feminism-crazed (note: I didn't say all) women, swallowing their pride and conforming to all their expectations simply in the hope of "getting some."
Let's face facts: many guys are just plain stupid, mindless sheep to molded and manipulated as desired. They are ruled by their crotches, not their craniums, and couldn't care less about being treated like a poor man's Adonis.
Even worse, Dan Juan and I might just qualify as "poofs" (or the plural of that repugnant "f"-word) due to our objections to this rank sexualization of our gender. To which I would reply, "So, it would be alright if you found yourselves the object of adoration on a gay version of this website?" The sound of their backtracking would sound positively cartoonish.
Gay, bi or straight, no-one has the right to be doing this, to either gender. Even if you classified this as porn and subjected the site to the same regulations (namely, pay-per-view), you would still have the right-to-privacy issue. But Juan doesn't care about the sexuality of the photographer by acknowledging that not only women are enjoying Tubecrush.
Now here's where you think Juan might have just stepped in the doggie-doo of hypocrisy. He dressed up to the nines one day in the hope of soliciting Tubecrush-worthy attention. Here's what he wrote after the experiment: "I logged on to Tubecrush, eager to see how I looked. Nothing. Not a single one of those girls or possible gay men had taken my photo on the tube. Or if they had, I had been rejected by the website's elitist proprietors for being deemed lower than a 6 out of 10 (this is the site's attractiveness cut-off point)."
Poor Dan Juan. He's not being hypocritical; he just gave in to human nature. Other men are no doubt looking for and not finding themselves on Tubecrush. It has to be, as Juan would say, a "crushing" experience. Honestly, if you want to encourage a man to cease his personal grooming habits and exercise routine because he thinks it's obviously doing him no good, a phenomenon like Tubecrush is the way to go about it.
What Juan writes next is heartbreaking: "Some Tube crushes are actually photographed while sitting right beside other men, who are completely ignored! Imagine being one of those poor sods. Seeing half of your face cropped out in the corner, unacknowledged." He's right: How demeaning and sexist can this possibly get?
It used to be, in the days of yore, you might hop onto the subway looking smart and dashing and imagine that someone, or perhaps several people, were secretly admiring you. It was fun to imagine and even if you had no concrete evidence to back up your flight of fancy, it helped to boost your confidence. You liked what your mind was telling you. Now you've got the proof that your fantasy was just that—a fantasy. No-one cares about you. Just go home. You're in the way of someone I want to take a photo of.
Dan Juan, I can't say I ever previously thought too much about this issue, but I can imagine what it's like to feel your pain. Thankfully, I hardly ever take the London subway system anymore and I certainly have no reason now to reconsider it.


goddessdivine said...

This is obsession with handheld gadgets gone bad. Do people have nothing better to do than snap photos of random people and create superficial fodder? Good grief.

I also find myself feeling a bit sad for the pictorially sliced. I'd feel like a loser.

Nightdragon said...

I feel sad for them too -- it's not right, you can't do that to people.

And what's so sexy about random people? Remember the good ol' days when getting to know someone was the best thing about a sexual relationship? Where the best fun to be had was forging a bond? Now we're fantacizing over Mr. Anonymous. Urgh.

The Atomic Mom said...

This is what I fear with camera phones and the never ending pluged in life we all seem to lead. Although we do not have a cell phone, which shockes most people.