Social media has facilitated the purveyance of a lot of really dangerous, anti-feminist sentiments – as in real life, too many to count, really. Wading through it all as it’s thrown in my face on a daily basis, there’s one particular phenomenon that’s really been irking me to a greater extent than usual lately.
Instagram is my most-used social medium of choice, and probably the most popular in contemporary young culture, and so I naturally focus on that with my woes. Naked cam girls and big booty bitches with 259,000 followers? I at least somewhat get that; I’m not going to pass judgement on what women want to post of their bodies or on the men that want to consume that, for whichever reasons that they choose to. The whole platform is so toxic for so many reasons pertaining to that whole issue, but whatever. Let’s ignore the vanilla objectification and over-sexualization issues for a moment.
If anyone has yet to hear of The Slut Whisperer, a.k.a. “@KirillWasHere,” they’re in for a treat. Peddler of the ever-popular with frat boys “Party with sluts” and “Thank you for being a slut” merchandise, this guy started on Twitter, having now amassed 139.5k followers there and leeched into other social media, naturally (589k on Instagram, yuck). A quick scan of his account today alone reveals such gems as:
There isn’t even any explanation or analysis necessary here, as the garbage he spews is so blatantly misogynistic and disgusting in the simplest, most basic way. Now I know that I can’t fight every instance of a man having opinions like these, and likewise can’t stop them from sharing them on social media. What bothers me most is the level of reverence guys like this achieve by males and females alike. They’re worshipped solely for their “funny” sexist remarks, the degrading nude photos they post of women, their status as men because of how they portray their interactions with women, etc. Similar accounts I can think of are @lastnightsparty, who posts under the guise of a bystander simply documenting “slutty” girls at club events, and Dan Bilzerian, a seeming idol of manhood with photos like the ones below and inexplicable wealth and fame. And with one million supporters of this trash? What year are we in, here?:
The core issue here is the shift from women having ownership of their bodies – their own fans for posting their own photos, however nude and “slutty” they may be – to men imposing ownership and being celebrated for their blatant degradation of women. Bilzerian posting countless photos of seemingly anonymized nude women (and himself among them, often groping them) and receiving upwards of 300,000 likes is an homage to the glamorization of his lifestyle; namely, his possession of so many women and his control over these nameless, sexualized bodies. His wealth is indicated by his yachts and trips, yes, but also by his multitude of women as silent sexual possessions that he can grab and sleep with whenever and however he so chooses. The ultimate male’s dream, it seems, and these girls are valued explicitly and exclusively for their scantily clad bodies (and, implicitly, their orifices), while Bilzerman is valued for his personhood and also for what he represents as man. And yes, I acknowledge that these women are choosing to participate in this whole thing. But doesn’t that make it all the more sad? It’s like the friend who goes along with sexist jokes because “if you can’t beat them, join them”, and if you’re “one of the guys”, it makes you less likely to be a target. Women who are support sexism against women in any way are another topic to be taken up another day, but I think we can all see why they do it.
It’s such a simple concept so deeply ingrained in our culture, but personified in specific individuals celebrated solely for their mastery and exploitation of said concept. I just see accounts like these and feel the overwhelmingly, frustratingly inescapable fact that women are generally rendered meaningless as people outside of their physicality on a purely sexual level. (Please note: this is me completely ignoring the whole issue of sexual assault and generally piggish behaviour because… too many topics to talk about in one go). All of advertising and consumer/capitalist culture is predicated on women filling this void created by our media and society-fostered self-loathing and insecurity with material goods; a self-loathing that has nothing to do with ourselves as people, but is based purely on what we look like. I don’t deny that I too am guilty of “retail therapy” and shopping sprees for clothes and cosmetics to better myself in the only way that I’ve been taught is important: physically. It’s not even a conscious thought pattern or act, which makes it all the more detrimental. Men are generally respected for their ideas, their successes, and clearly, their control and possession of (hot) women. And the celebration of individuals like the aforementioned and the perpetuation of what they put out on their social media accounts unfortunately reinforces that females can at best aspire to be those hot objects on some successful man’s arm, and not achieve success in their own right; unless, of course, it is some small peripheral success based on 1) being sexy and 2) being associated with some man. It also, obviously, reinforces the whole “sexism is cool” trend. I’m trying to fight these ideologies by expressing my dismay for accounts like these. And I hope that my dismay can point out the underlying problematic societal norms that accounts like these represent to those that may be ignorant of the bigger picture. Even if taken at face value, no person should be stoked on these accounts or these dudes, end of story.