I get asked this a lot. I mean really a lot. And it’s not just me, not by a long shot. I hear other women being asked the same thing constantly. Every time there’s a creepy comment or any kind of harassment, without fail one of the first reactions is “Where do you find these guys?” or “How do these guys find you?” Or a dozen different variations on the same theme. As if I actively seek out harassment or abuse of any kind because, shit… I don’t even know how to finish that sentence. Why the fuck would I? I don’t.
I’ve often been told that I’m exaggerating or attention seeking. The fuck you mean attention seeking? If you’ve ever received that kind of attention, and I know a lot of you have, it’s a really shitty feeling. I’m not seeking that out. I do, however, expose predatory and derogatory behavior to warn other women, and I will always stand by that decision. I also appreciate it when others do the same so I can preemptively steer clear of that hornet’s nest.
My problem with that question, even though I realize for the most part it is an innocent enough question and out of genuine curiosity, but it’s the idea that any woman attracts a certain kind of creepy element. It’s just fucking ludicrous. Spoiler alert: Creeps find you. It’s what they do. In fact, it’s kind of their thing. Some seem to make it a full-time job.
Over the years, it never mattered what I was wearing, what my marital status was, how much makeup I had on, or even what I was talking about. I doesn’t fucking matter. They find you because they creep. I only dared publicly post my first picture with cleavage just last year. I was so scared about the creep factor, I actually had my husband post it and then I shared. Guess what? Zero creepy comments. That’s a whole other post right there. Meanwhile I post harmless fully clothed selfies or completely inane comments, and it turns sexual. I get sexualized because that is what scumbags want to do. I once posted about cake and even that was sexualized. Fucking cake! Two guys talking about how they would like to watch me eat cake and maybe other things like (drum roll) hot dogs.
Why do I have so many friends on FB? It’s a social media networking site. The point is to connect with people and be able to meet people, so to speak, you would otherwise never have the chance to encounter. I have many FB friends I treasure and feel privileged to be part of their life, even if it is remotely. They were stranger’s when I added them. There are also occasions when I want to promote something, this blog included. Has it gotten out of hand? Definitely. I will be paring down. Or I’ll just keep posting feminist articles and let the man babies cry it out, then delete.
I do have friends that I joke around with sometimes really dirty humor, so maybe that confuses these simpletons. But these are people I know, not complete strangers. Here’s a pro tip: If you don’t know whether you know someone well enough to make a sexually based reference, you don’t. This is not hard to figure out. Don’t say that shit to strangers right off the bat, it’s off putting at best.
I’ve also dealt with countless forms of online harassment long before my friend list got too big for me to handle and long before Facebook. So that’s not it either. It just brings more out of the woodwork. Whatever it is I’m saying or doing is not the problem. The fact that this has become so acceptable and/or dismissed is the problem. The problem is that I post about receiving rape threats and show actual (censored) screenshots of revenge porn which prompts some random shithead to show a picture of me he found on my page only to say, and I quote, “so married women post this and expect to not be harassed ??? funny shit right there” Sorry about the grammar, if there’s anything these guys have in common, it’s that they’re idiots. It was a pretty fucking tasteful picture, but that’s beside the point. Kind of. Okay, fine… It was hot, too. So what? If you are going to use anything I say or do to excuse someone else’s psychotic behavior, you’re part of the problem. Also, an asshole.
It always comes back to I should expect it or that I somehow attract it. Bullshit. I’ve had harassment problems for most of my existence online, even with a sunflower profile pic, so don’t tell me I’m attracting it. Creeps be creepin’. Because they’re fucking creepy.
I know the title of this post is most often just an innocuous question with no malicious intent. At the same time, we have to think about how this question shifts the blame onto the victim rather than the perpetrator. How it frames things. It doesn’t matter how the creeps found me. They found me and most of the time I don’t even know where they come from. Many are not FB friends. Some have been FB friends for years and never said a peep until I said something to call some other asshole out, when I guess it hit close enough to home. The point is, again, because I think this bears repeating, creeps find you. It’s not the other way around.