OkCupid Blacklisted Me For Standing Up To Harassment
I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a few years now, and after having suffered through one inappropriate message that did nothing other than objectify me too many, I started explaining to men why “Holy fuck, you’re sexy” or “You’re hot” were not appropriate ways to approach strangers, be it in person or online. This was often met with mild abuse in the variations of “Fine then I take it back, you’re not beautiful” or, at an extreme end, “Well, you’re fat anyway.”
While my dating profile started out simple at first, as I grew bolder (read: less tolerant of this bullshit), it evolved to include my being a sex-positive feminist and non-hierarchal polyamorist. I’m also sassy as fuck and have had it up to here with being treated like less than a human being when it comes to being a vocal woman online, so I stopped reining in my sass when it came to talking with fuckboys.
I eventually put a clause on my dating profile requesting that the only people invited to message me were those who lived in my city, had a clear face pic, had a complete profile, and knew that my being open to casual sex was not an invitation to send me sexually explicit or crude messages. I also added in that anyone who ignored these requests ought to be prepared to be called out for the asshole they inevitably are.
Unsurprisingly, few to none of the people who messaged me (mostly men) respected these requests, if they even read them at all. So, I started writing back a form reply that said, “I’m not interested in assholes who blatantly ignore what I’ve written in my profile. Never message me again.” This response resulted in my being called so many derogatory names that I could’ve played Misogynistic Name-calling Bingo and won ten times over. Sometimes I shouted back at these arrogant fools who thought that I was a “bitch” or “cunt” or the “asshole” for being upset that grown-ass men wouldn’t read and respect simple wishes in a dating profile. Other times I told them off and reported them for abuse.
Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but I get really fucking annoyed when I have to keep telling adults to act like adults instead of like vengeful preteens. Maybe I’m overly stubborn, but I refuse to just ignore the people who make me feel uncomfortable in any way, especially when I explicitly outlined what makes me uncomfortable and to not do it. Maybe I’m overly naive to think that men on dating sites are actually going to respect my very simple wishes. After all, I almost never have these sorts of problems on other dating sites or apps. In fact, some of the most respectful disagreements I’ve had have been on Tinder, which is generally considered to be full of sex-starved sleaze bags. But it’s OKCupid where I felt I was drowning in a cesspool of misogynistic manbabies who don’t understand that online is real life and that claiming to hate guys who catcall but then messaging a strange woman with comments like “Damn you’re sexy” is the same thing.
I wouldn’t back down and continued to chew out men who treated me inappropriately. I called an asshole an asshole and I explained why what they were doing was not appreciated and in no way a compliment. I talked calmly at first, but then I got increasingly angrier and it showed in my messages. I got all shouty caps on these jerks and, unsurprisingly, most men on dating sites don’t take kindly to a woman schooling them on how to treat her. It’s these interactions that I am 99.9% sure led to my blacklist.
The first time, I contacted OKCupid and asked them to look into it, and the very-friendly staff who assisted me suddenly turned incredibly curt and scary when reporting back that I had been blacklisted; when I wrote back requesting additional details, I got radio silence. The second time I created an account, I began keeping screencaps of the abuse as a paper trail. It took only about two months for that account to be disabled, in which time I collected dozens of screen caps. Now, I’m actually furious.
I gave the same response to every guy who messaged me inappropriately. If every one of those butthurt egos reported me for calling him an asshole (like I said I would in my profile), then obviously I’m the one who’s going to come off as the bad guy. The OKCupid support guy claims to have reviewed my history, but if that were the case, then why are the men who called me “Paki cunt,” said my “cunt probably smelled of curry” or threatened to “sell [my] ass in China” not have their accounts blacklisted after I reported them?
Even though I know I did nothing wrong and was totally within my rights (and was actually way kinder than I could have been to some of these dipshits), as I write this, I’m still afraid that some of you are going to read this and ask why I continued to engage; why I need to resort to name-calling; why I don’t just ignore and block. You wouldn’t be the first ones to ask/wonder that and you likely won’t be the last, but the fact that our first instincts is not “Why do men feel it’s okay to be so shitty online” and is instead, “Why do you [the victim] engage with these men” is terrifying and a huge fucking problem.
The way I see it, I’m actually strong as fuck, even though I sometimes forget that. So, if people are going to be shitty to me, I usually have the gumption to talk back to them. If I just ignore their inappropriateness, they won’t know that they’ve done something inappropriate and may go ahead and do it again and again. And the next women they do it to, may not be as strong as I am and may not be able to cope like I usually can. Not to mention, why the hell would I risk a guy making some other girl feel as degraded or angry or insulted as he made me feel?! I’ll gladly take one for the team, thanks.
But the core of it all that same old story: online harassment of women is a fucking problem. We are not making this shit up. Especially on dating sites and apps, we are routinely sexually harassed, objectified, made to feel like we are nothing by fragile ego’d manbabies who think they are invincible behind their keyboards. We put up with this shit day in and day out, and despite so many of us telling our stories, there are still men (allies and not alike) who refuse or are unable to believe that we’re not exaggerating.
Aside from ranting here and continuing to open more and more OKCupid accounts (because damn the patriarchy! Why the hell am I going to deprive myself of finding love just because some men don’t have a shred of common decency?!), I don’t know what to do, really. I feel like I’m being punished for standing up for myself against inappropriate behaviour, and I feel like this is a losing battle women will forever be fighting. But I don’t believe that means it’s not a battle worth fighting. Until we stop living in a world where sites like OKCupid think that name-calling is worth blacklisting but that racial, misogynistic slurs are acceptable, I’m going to keep fighting the good fight.