It was just another day in the life of my ‘Others’ folder on Facebook:
1. When this guy just wouldn’t let up:
2. Or the one who just came to the point:
3. Or when this one was way too confident:
4. When this person questioned my beliefs:
5. And when I met the guy who loved pulling legs:
6. Then this guy questioned my capabilities:
7. He wanted me to pop the question because I wasn’t that bad:
8. And then the notification light wouldn’t stop blinking:
9. Things then stopped being funny:
10. They were not funny at all:
However, this is not just another curation of the kinds of creepy messages women receive on Facebook on a daily basis. Let us try and reverse the scenario. I would request the men reading this article to imagine themselves in the situation mentioned below:
You come back home after a long day at work and decide to spend some time on Facebook. You are scrolling through your notifications and inbox and are curious to know what your ‘other’ folder contains. You chance upon messages sent by females you have never known or met; messages from girls whose Facebook profiles say that they have attended the “University of Swag”, work at “None of your business” and live in “Your heart”. Girls who are clad in aviators in their profile pictures; pictures that invariably have deep captions about life and the importance of having a boy in that life. Girls who have full faith in the power of fonts that take you back to the propaganda posters of the Russian Revolution. Women who believe that the internet is a place where strong and true friendships are made and consider Facebook and Shaadi.com to be synonymous.
These messages are from women who love you for your eyes and desire to get lost in the expanse of your shiny and perfectly set hair. They are from girls who compare you with Greek Gods reeking of masculinity. They are from those who pen down ballads for you, odes that could put Anu Malik to shame. Some of these females merely want to be decent acquaintances because you fascinate them while some are slightly more direct and are enthralled by the size of that thing you are hiding in your pants.
Now think of how you are conditioned to believe that you will receive messages from a plethora of random women on the internet because that’s how they are and it’s your responsibility to not make yourself conspicuous and attract attention. That you are expected to put up modest pictures of yourself on your Facebook profile and learn to avoid having a conversation with these strangers who approach you. With this thought, you decide to conveniently ignore the messages you receive but they just keep coming like a tidal wave.
Now how would you feel if the same girl contacts you through other social media outlets or creates multiple profiles to talk to you after you have blocked her from Facebook? Or if she calls you an arrogant little dog for not responding to the hundred messages that she sent you because she thought of you as an attractive man. That you have been extremely disrespectful by ignoring her compliments and that you are playing too hard to get. That men like you deserve to be shamed.
And then, how would you feel when you complain about the fact that these messages are disturbing you and get scoffed at for the same. When people tell you things like “It’s just the internet. You are supposed to take these things lightly”. When you are accused of bringing this upon yourself. That it’s nothing but your fault. Or better still, “Come on. Girls will be girls”
Disclaimer:The author is well aware of the fact that men do face a good amount of harassment on the internet. But it is also a well-known fact that such instances are few.