It’s Not Me. It’s Definitely You.

Women are getting the last laugh at the darker side of Internet dating.


Online dating. Two words that were once considered somewhat of an embarrassment. What was once a reason to hide the truth from your friends about how you met your new girlfriend has now become the focus of a billion dollar giant empire that is growing every day. From CEOs to farmers, lonely singletons from every corner of the earth are flocking to the world of online dating in hopes to find their soul mate for life. Or maybe they just want someone to pretend to be their soul mate on a Friday night. But one thing is for certain: it seems like everyone today is on a dating website.

As dating websites and apps flood the market, companies like OkCupid and Tinder are the rulers among the college aged audience. They are considered to be the equivalent of Facebook in the internet dating world and if one has proceeded to the dip their toes into the waters of online romance, chances are they have — or had — their very own profile on these websites. In fact, OkCupid has garnered a reputation to be one of the more “normal” choices of finding romance or a fling while Tinder is making its mainstream presence as the “bad boy” of the bunch. Both provide a casual experience that is it easy to use and most importantly, a good majority of the features are absolutely free which has been definitely a driving force behind the popularity of the dating website titans. So, it’s not a huge surprise to run across a profile of a friend or a familiar face once in a while.

Once upon a time, I was one of those people.

My time on OkCupid was not bad. I’ve met some awesome people on there; even some that I still keep in contact to this day. But the one thing that made me press that “deactivate” button in my account settings over a year ago was not only because the lack of guys who wanted a response to an initial message of “sup” or “hey,” it was because of the guys who thought they were rightfully entitled to a response at all.

I found out that when everyone is on a dating website, it means that everyone is on a dating website…and that also includes the crazies.

Rewind to the year 2013. The days leading up to this encounter, my poor little OKC inbox was collecting dust and cobwebs because my life got extremely busy and dating wasn’t exactly the first thing on my mind. So when I logged in back to my account after many days of neglect so I can finally make the emails to remind me that I still had a profile on there stop, I noticed several messages from a guy — we’ll call him “Gary” — who I had zero contact with before. Gary was nothing spectacular: an average-looking male who looked like he had kind brown eyes and a warm, well-kept smile. But when I clicked on his message, those same supposedly-kind eyes and warm smile quickly transformed into one of the craziest deceptions I have ever experienced.

When the initial shock wore off, I couldn’t help but laugh. I have received vulgar and sexist messages before, but this one took the creeper cake for sure. After a few shares with friends and an obligatory posting on Reddit, I quickly learned that my confrontation with Mr. Gary was relatively mild compared to what other women around the world were experiencing. It quickly turned from a funny moment to a sobering realization that these kind of men are out there.

Cassandra Gregorcyk, a 25-year-old receptionist living in Minneapolis, Minn., recalls one interaction that involved a man — who turned out to be married and had children after some sleuthing on Facebook — who tried to both harass and seduce her with insults, talk about his genitals, and his current activities with multiple women. But much to his surprise, it was not working.

“He basically went on to say that I was a ‘bottom of the barrel slut’ and that he was just looking for ‘the fattest and ugliest person he could find,” Cassandra said. “The harassment went on for the rest of that day. He called me fat, ugly, and unsuccessful in my career, which was particularly entertaining as I have nothing about what I do on my profile, nor did I have any conversation with him prior to this whole thing.”

Horror stories of unsolicited pictures, aggressive pick-up lines, threats of sexual assaults, and angry tantrums from men were frighteningly becoming way too common. There were a lot of “men,” like Gary, who did not like the sound of “no thanks” and couldn’t muster up the ability to brush off and move on. No, they want women to know their discontent, no matter how crazy it sounds. Many women who do not reciprocate one’s feelings are now finding themselves as the target for unsolicited and cheap shots.

However, this is not stopping women who want to their message heard loud and clear: “This is NOT okay.”

More than ever, blogs, websites, and social media outlets are seeing a rise of a particular kind of public shaming: the calling out of the misogynistic, the creepy, the perverted, and the straight-out scary. With the popularity of the blog Public Shaming and websites like Jezebel, the dark side of what women experience in online dating communities is getting the spotlight and it is providing an eye-opening look inside the kind of mindset that still roams within the dating walls, while getting a good laugh at it too.

Thanks to websites such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, women are attempting to get the last laugh. Females are utilizing the power of different social media vessels to send a message to those who hide beneath the black curtain of internet dating. And it’s becoming an internet sensation.

With over 312,000 followers strong, Bye Felipe has Instagram users pressing the heart button in mass numbers that would make any “like”-hungry social media teenager green with envy. “Calling out dudes who turn hostile when rejected or ignored” is Bye Felipe’s sole mission and Alexandra Tweten, the mastermind behind the social media account, is now helping lead the public shaming of creeper misogynist dudes movement. The Instagram account features submissions from women from all over the world and their unfortunate interactions within online dating communities.

Images courtesy of Bye Felipe

Straight White Boys Texting is another popular blog that exposes guys who truly have a twisted sense of wooing a woman. Users can also submit their own screenshots of their experiences on OKCupid, Tinder, and other countless dating apps.

Another Instagram user who using the social media app to describe her online internet dating experiences is @annageeze also known as “instagranniepants.” With a growing audience of 52, 500, @annageeze is using her talent of art giving the undesirable the test of their own medicine. With each picture, @annageeze draws a portrait of the Tinder offender in his birthday suit accompanying the disturbing chats she gets almost on a daily basis.

“Objectifying men who objectify women in 3 easy steps,” @annageeze wrote on her Instagram profile. “Man sends crude line via internet. Draw him naked. Send portrait to lucky man, enjoy results.”

Someone who knows exposing the ugly truth all too well is Katie, a 31-year-old from Washington D.C. She is most known as creator behind the dating tale blog “Date Me, D.C.” Katie and her blog quickly garnered attention for her straight-forward, no-nonsense writing about her dating adventures — the good and the bad — which became a viral sensation in not only D.C. but among readers around the country. She knows firsthand how ludicrous the online dating world can get.

“For women, a dating website is like the Wild Wild West — things being thrown at you from all directions, all manner of craziness, no rules,” Katie said. “Most dating sites afford you some sort of chat function a la Facebook messenger, and I found I needed to turn my message function off because I couldn’t use the sites otherwise.”

According to Katie, women have a very different experience when it comes to online dating and her blog not only helped her unite these women, but also helped her grow as a person in the modern dating world.

“…It helped me kind of learn about myself. In recapping and analyzing the dates, and cataloging so many of them, I was able to compile reference material of myself — my mistakes, my patterns, etc. I felt like I got to know myself more completely and figure out a lot of what I was doing wrong.”

Just like the vigilante communities like Bye Felipe, Straight White Boys Texting, and Instagranniepants, Katie understands the frustration of men who just don’t know how to talk to women. But many questions have been raised as to whether or not this sort of public shaming actually makes a difference in changing the behavior of men on dating websites. But one thing is for sure: it is helping women come together to express their frustration of what they deal with time and time again.

“There’s a lot of ‘ugh…’ that happens when you log into your account,” Katie said. “Messages from guys who are 20+ years your senior with daughters your age? Ugh. Guys who send you emails with no sentence structure or attempt at grammar? Ugh. Guys who lead with sex without trying to get to know you/make you feel safe? Ugh. That last one is probably the worst one, and the one I would want men to understand the most.”

Substance is a publication of the Mt. San Antonio College Journalism Program. The program recently moved its newsroom over to Medium as part of a one-year experiment. Read about it here.