Well it has been a good what 18 months or so since the website TubeCrush made small waves in the media. If you have never heard of TubeCrush it is a website where people can send pictures they have taken of men on the underground and if these men are scored at a six out of ten or higher by the people behind the site then they will put the photo on the website for people to vote on and decide whether they are attractive or not. Seems pretty harmless enough but while the site has sporned versions in New York, Boston and most recently Australia. No version has yet to emerge for women to be featured. Why is this?
First of all I want to decide whether the site is sexist or not. Well as we all know sexism is about prejudices based on gender. Well women cannot be the stars on TubeCrush because they are women so therefore it is surely sexist. We live in a society where gender should not matter and people of the different sexes should be treated equally. Therefore not allowing female pictures it does hit the sexist button. It is a bit like Page 3 being sexist because you can’t be a Page 3 model if you are a man because you are a man. However lets not rehash the old Page 3 debate and concentrate on TubeCrush.
So whilst it might technically be sexist is it just a bit of harmless fun? Personally I see no great issue with it. When you are in a public setting photographs can be taken of you. The old adage that the average person gets caught on 300 CCTV cameras a day shows that we are always being watched. If you don’t like being featured on the website you can always ask for your photo to be removed. No harm. No foul. However the issue I really want to explore is if this website was created by people who wanted to expose female photos instead of male ones then would this small quirky story from 18 months ago have made far more waves?
I was pondering this the other night. I am fairly sure that if I started up a similar website which concentrated on only allowing pictures of girls taken on the Tube and that I deemed better than six out of ten that I’d be derided as a sexist and the site itself would attract a lot of publicity. I would probably make a fair deal of money out of it on the plus side but on the negative side I’d just be perpetrating a sexist act that would lead to even more people disliking me and I have enough of them already!
What would the difference be if men or women are featured on a site like this? Stereotypically guys would think it was ace that someone thought they were attractive enough to be featured on the site but women apparently would see this as an infringement of their rights to privacy, so says the stereotype. Would a women’s feelings be hurt more if she received more thumbs down than thumbs up compared to a guys? Should this matter?
One issue is clearly if a guy caught a girl snapping his photo on the underground would he be worried for his personal safety? Probably not but if a woman caught a guy snapping their photo on the tube then what would her initial reaction be? Would she be scared? Would she think he was some weirdo who was about to spread her photo across the internet for lots of other weirdos to see? (well in this instance possibly) Would her reaction depend on whether the guy taking the photo was attractive or not? If the guy looked like a tramp would she be more worried than if it was a man in a suit? So many questions and as I am but one man I obviously cannot answer them with any sense of authority.
One question I can at least have a stab at is this one from the list – Would her reaction depend on whether the guy taking the photo was attractive or not? – I contest that in many cases it does. I have seen it with my own eyes. I recall an incident at my former employers where one of my female colleagues had been at a party the previous night and had apparently been complaining that her feet hurt. The next day late in the afternoon a courier turned up with a pair of insoles or something for her feet. It was from a guy at that party. Now the guy in question did not know her name but only knew she was working in a certain town in a certain position at the company. So he googled that town and that job and found out her name, where she worked and couriered down a pair of insoles. All the women swooned and all the guys thought he was very weird.
So basically a guy internet stalked a woman and that was ok because as my colleague said he was really dreamy. I am pretty sure shall we say that had I done exactly the same thing to the same person then the reaction would not have been the same. Considering this person was never my biggest fan (and unfriended me on Facebook literally as I have the office for the final time) and thought I was weird and creepy anyway (well I am weird but creepy was certainly harsh considering I did my best not to interact with her) I would contend if I did it she would not act in the same way. Heck if I found out where she worked now and did it she would be so creeped out it would be insane.
As usual I have veered off path here. I think my point is people would react differently in such a situation depending on the person taking the photo. Heck I’m pretty sure I would. I wouldn’t worry about my personal safety (I would worry about their sanity unless of course they were taking photos for the uglyandpotentiallysmellyguysonthetube.net website (which as of writing does not exist but possibly should).
If we as a society are all about equality then why should we react differently to a site of men on the underground to a website for women on the underground? It is more likely that women pictured on the underground would have their personal safety infringed if they had a good looking photo on the internet that they knew nothing about? Are there more creepy stalkers who are male than female? I don’t know but all I know is if TubeCrush was a site where female photos were uploaded on to and voted on then the website would a) make a lot ore money and b) would cause a lot more controversy and the sexist lobbyists would be out in far greater force with far more gusto in their voices than they are currently.
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