Despite being fed up with most of the stuff in the sections you get by default on Reddit I still choose to visit the site. There are some funny and insightful things on there once you get a little ways off of the beaten path. There’s also utter lunacy—both the funny and scary variety.
Instead of sticking around to complain about what I was seeing I just unwatched a lot of the sections I disliked and went on about my business. Some of them slipped by unnoticed though and the worst of these was the Okcupid section.
Okcupid has cultural problems that stem mostly from its membership. The site’s design is clean and functional. When features are unpopular they just become harder to find and don’t have to vanish entirely and the site isn’t afraid to blatantly be what it is: a dating website.
The other day on Reddit one of the top posts in the Okcupid section basically amounted to some girl bragging about how she overcame her fear and sent her first message out ever. She was greeted with pats on the back and celebration of how she finally did it and how good of a person she was for participating in the site the way it’s meant to be used. This wouldn’t be so odd if I hadn’t seen more than a few men make the same kind of post when they first joined Okcupid (she had been a member for months) and get torn to shit in the comments about how they weren’t doing anything until they hadn’t heard back from hundreds of messages and the like.
Of course I stepped in and asked did she want a cookie or something. Did she think she had mastered the site just by sending a single message. There are thousands upon thousands of women out there who do send messages first and who do so often. She accused me of being mean and not understanding that she has social anxiety disorder. Guess who else does? But that excuse would never hold up for me.
We have all got to stop treating women like they’re Labrador Retrievers and they need constant positive reinforcement. You can take the initiative and message guys first. Do you have to do it always? No, but the guy shouldn’t always have to either.
Shyness is a sweet trait to a point. But if you can’t send a message over a semi-anonymous website to say “Hey, I see you’re really into Hannibal, who’s your favorite character?” then maybe you’re not ready to be dating.
This gripe really isn’t at women, it’s at society. Because society tries to say it enables groups to be on equal footing, but it really doesn’t. For the same reason that blacks can talk all we want about Civil Rights and how awesome Martin Luther King was, but don’t dare let some of these same people catch you not consuming exclusively black art or doing exclusively “black” things because they’ll turn around and make it about how you’re not acting black enough. And a sincere sentiment like that is pretty fucking racist. The same way that telling someone she’s too feminine or not feminine enough is pretty sexist.
But there’s nothing saying that either sex is unable to initiate communication. Everyone is capable of being nervous under the right circumstances. Let’s not treat it like only one sex’s nervousness is validated.