Online Dating In A Post Harvey Weinstein World #metooonlinedating

Online Dating In A Post Harvey Weinstein World
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As the Harvey Weinstein scandal continues to unravel, along with the outing of dozens of other power players in the industry, we can only hope that this will mark the beginning of a systematic change to the power dynamics that have populated the dark underbelly of Hollywood for far too long.

Perhaps most encouraging amongst the movement has been the trickle down to society at large and the ”me too” hashtags populating social media channels, empowering women all over the world to speak out against sexual misconduct. If the past few weeks are any indication, this fire will continue to burn and grow stronger as time marches forward.

But as important as these movements throughout our culture have been, there is one aspect of society that still remains a breeding ground for sexual harassment, and unfortunately, continues to garner little meaningful attention. The medium I am referring to is online dating.

I can tell you first hand that I have worked with online daters for over a decade and have personally heard harassment stories from hundreds of women. Not to mention stories from friends, family members, and co-workers. I not only hear them first hand, but I witness them nearly every day of my life when I log into the online dating accounts of my female clients.

There seems to be no limit to what some men will say online. Propositioning women for sex as an introductory email. Lewd comments about their anatomy. Graphic sexual language. Most of what I witness and hear are remarks that are so explicit I would feel uncomfortable even typing them in this article.

It’s incredible what some men will say and do when they have the power to hide behind the safety net of a computer screen and don’t have to engage in face to face interactions with the women they are acting predatory towards.

Imagine a world in which vast numbers of men walked up to women in schools, hospitals, bars, restaurants, and various other places in society saying whatever deviant sexual thoughts pop into there mind or propositioning strangers for sex. This would be a world gone mad, and yet, in the online dating world it is a common battle that nearly all women face.

It may only be a small percentage of men engaging in this type of behavior, but when one considers the fact that there are millions of people on dating sites, even a one percent minority would still be an unfathomable amount of harassment on a daily basis.

Perhaps just as important, often times men deal with online rejection in just as inappropriate of a manner. They start out with a nice email, and after going unnoticed or not getting the type of response they want, quickly resort to calling women sluts, whores, and worse.

These types of behaviors not only negatively affect female online daters and their experiences online, but also affect the overwhelming majority of men on dating sites who are kind and respectful people. These men become tainted by the bad behavior of their respective gender and must overcome the skepticism that their awful counterpoints have embedded into the minds of women.

In close to 10 years of working with female online daters I have only met a handful of women that never had a man approach them in an inappropriate way online.

And what are the consequences for this type of behavior? Some might argue that these online dating sites are making a reasonable effort to control harassment, as most sites offer the option for users to report bad behavior. When bad behavior is reported, these sites will ban the accounts of those who have violated their policies.

I truly believe the online dating sites are for the most part, doing the best they can. But one would be hard pressed to argue that these men are actually learning a lesson or receiving the consequences they deserve.

A banned member can easily switch over to a different site or find loopholes that enable them to create an account on a different name and credit card. And that’s assuming that even a small minority of the men who violate women are even reported.

Most women I’ve encountered choose to just ignore these men or quit online dating altogether because the experience has been tarnished for them. Which is a real shame because I personally think online dating is an incredible medium that accomplishes way more positives than negatives.

Being banned from a single dating site just isn’t enough of a consequence for a man who willingly harasses a woman online. So here’s what I suggest.

I propose that the faction of men who taint the world of online dating be outed for their misdeeds against women and exposed to the world. I purpose a #metooonlinedating hashtag.

If you have been harassed, verbally abused in a sexual manner, or made to feel uncomfortable in any way by a stranger online, share it with the world and out them on social media. A man may not be afraid to say whatever he pleases if he feels it is just between you and him, but revealing his behavior to the whole world and providing real life consequences may just cause him to think twice.

Although I’m fully aware that the sufferings of those who have been raped, harassed, or made to feel uncomfortable in face to face encounters outweigh the emotional damage and frustrations that emails from a stranger on a dating site may cause, that doesn’t mean it has to be tolerated and accepted.

All bad behavior towards women, no matter how big or small, needs to be put to bed. There is still much work to be done in society and this is only the beginning.

So let’s start the moving of making online dating a better place for everyone. If now isn’t a great time, then when?


Bio: Joshua Pompey has been helping men and women to succeed at online dating since 2009, where he specializes in writing professional online dating profiles for men and women. To learn more, men click here. Women click here.

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