Crushed! Women no longer centre of attention shocker…

Posted: April 21, 2011 in Blogging, Desire, Feminism, Identity, Masculinities, metrosexuality, Porn, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Tube Crush   seems so inevitable, I am kind of surprised it didn’t happen sooner. The website, set up recently by a group of friends (men and women), is a new online hit. People are asked to send in photos of hot men they have spotted on London’s Underground system, that they have taken surreptitiously on their mobiles. The sexy specimens are then uploaded onto the site and rated by visitors. It is a graphic reminder of a fact all urban dwellers have known since the dawn of time: people check each other out on public transport!

But TubeCrush (which is a nice play on words, as you often get quite literally crushed on London’s tube) has received some criticism. Mainly it seems, from, you guessed it, the liberal and feminist media.

Sunny Hundal , writing in The Guardian, said:

‘Erm, is it just me or if this site was about women, would people be getting arrested right about now?’

He goes on to point out how TubeCrush involves men having their photos taken without their permission (or indeed their knowledge), with the sole purpose of providing randoms on the internet with material to ‘perve’ over as he terms it. Commenters on twitter and on the cif thread in question referred to TubeCrush as ‘an invasion of privacy’, a form of ‘harassment’ and even ‘stalking’. Some questioned its legality, citing the  DataProtectionAct 1998.

The main feminist argument against TubeCrush can be summed up by this blogger, My Crippled Eagle:

‘If a woman takes a picture of a man on a train and he sees her, one or both will be embarassed but very few men would feel threatened by such behaviour.

If, however, a man takes a picture of a woman on a train and she sees him, immediately she has to think about the possible dangers of the situation. Is this guy a creep? Is he a potential rapist? Is he going to follow up the action with some verbal or physical harassment?

The odds are that this guy isn’t a rapist, but if you’re in a room with 100 glasses of water, 1 of which is poisoned, the odds don’t really hold much comfort. The risk that the worst-case will happen is still scary, however slim the possibility’.

Sidestepping for a moment that old chestnut ‘all men are potential rapists” meme from feminism of old, I think the feminists are protesting too much. I don’t think they really care that these photos may contravene the Data Protection Act, or that men may feel harassed. I never heard a feminist stand up for men as a group before. I don’t think they have been galvanised into action by TubeCrush. No, I think the real reason this has pissed off feminists, is they feel left out.

It has taken an honest male blogger to allude to this sense of disappointment that may come, not from having your photo taken on the tube journey to work, but from not having your photo taken on the tube journey to work:

‘The thing that hurt most of all about TubeCrush -that made me want to hurl my laptop across the room in self-righteous fury- was that I wasn’t on it!

And he predicts a depressing future for the no-hopers who don’t make the TubeCrush grade:

‘the longer this website exists, the worse it will become for these unsexy saps. Each day, more and more buff geezers will adorn the page of Tubecrush while the same losers will be continually overlooked.  They will endure a daily routine of slumping glumly into their seats while cameras flash all around them- but never at them’.

I think this blogger gets to the nub of the reasons for TubeCrush’s popularity – and controversy. It is about ‘metrosexual’ men’s desire to be desired.  Despite how some articles have presented the site as ‘by and for women’ looking at men, the homo-erotics of TubeCrush cannot be ignored. The captions that go with the uploaded photos show that men as well as women take the pics and send them in:

‘Is it me or is it getting hot in here? Watch out because Jon2198 came down with a highly infectious bout of yellow fever after encountering this handsome chap on his way to work…’

‘Thanks for sending us the latest up and coming talent from the pole -dancing scene, Gareth’.

As you all must know by now, our resident gayzer on the male form, Mark Simpson, has been telling us, repeatedly, that men are enjoying their relatively newfound place infront of the world’s cameras. And they don’t want to lose it. David Beckham and other footballers have competed for attention from gay ‘sporno’ fans, for example, French rugby players queue up to feature on the Dieu de Stade calendars, and Mikey The Situation Sorrentino generously offers his GTL tits and abs for everyone’s visual pleasure.

Women have long expressed their ambivalence or downright hostility to the ways they are objectified in visual culture. Forty years of feminism has left women feeling it is somehow wrong to enjoy being the subjects of men’s oppressive ‘gaze’. And yet, now that we are surrounded by images of men’s bodies, in sporno, in advertising, in ‘gay’ pornography, in sites such as tumblr’s ‘hot guys reading books’ and ‘fuckyeahbeards’, women seem a little bit resentful that they are no longer the centre of everyone’s attention.

I can’t prove it. But I get the distinct impression that there is some kind of weird correlation, between the increased feminist campaigns against ‘street harassment’ and ‘objectification’ of women, and the ‘pornification’ of culture, and the fact that actually, it is men, not women, who are the chief objectified commodities these days. If feminism were a woman, I think she’d be a slightly dowdy lady in her middle age, complaining, as some older women do, of how she has now been rendered ‘invisible’ in society.

There are suggestions that TubeCrush may become a dating site. Or at least have the option for people to hook up with men in the photos if they agree. But I hope this doesn’t happen. The thing I like about the site at the moment, is the way it occupies that undefined space between gay ‘porn’ or gay websites, totty for women, and the increasing number of ways in which men take pleasure at looking at each other, and themselves.  This is another reason why it is causing some people anxiety I believe. I have written before about just how resistant feminist women in particular are, to the idea that there is no clear boundary between ‘gay’ porn and ‘porn for women’.  That there is no ‘male gaze’ or ‘female gaze’. And that, if only they would open their eyes, they would see that men are crying out to be looked upon by anyone and everyone.  If TubeCrush was a dating site, the ‘gaze’ and the subjects would be split into defined categories: ‘gay men’, ‘straight men’ ‘women’…which would spoil all our fun and inhibit people I think. As Mark Simpson has suggested, ‘homo-erotics’ can be most exciting, when they are not classed as ‘gay’. Especially for non-gay men!

I am fascinated by how a small website set up by friends has caused or at least represented so clearly, this collision between conflicting interests and perspectives over ‘objectification’.
TubeCrush has crushed a few myths and dented a few egos. Long may it continue to do so!

  1. typhonblue says:

    What I love about pictures of guys is how completely unselfconsciously innocent they are. When you take pictures of women they are often so artificial about the whole thing.

    Here’s a tip. Look up stock photos of women and men drinking from straws. (I did this once, it’s hilarious.)

    The guys all have their eyes closed while the women have theirs open because they’re putting on a performance for attention.

    Imagine the difference in their thought processes goes something like this:

    Woman: Are you looking at me? Yes, you are. I’m drinking from a straw, aren’t I sexy? I like to see in your eyes how sexy I am because I’m sexy. I think about being sexy a lot, about once every few seconds and I like to confirm the fact that you’re thinking about me being sexy too.

    • elflojo84 says:

      You probably haven’t worked this out because it’s very subtle, but I think on some deep psychological level the straw is your dick?

      • typhonblue says:

        That is really subtle.

        Seeing as I don’t have a dick.

        • elflojo84 says:

          Ha, I meant “one’s dick”, the hypothetical dick of the hypothetical male viewing the photo!

          Your stock photo theory is true, although interestingly “man sucking straw” comes up with a hell of a lot of gay porn on Google images…

          • typhonblue says:

            So… what you’re saying is that men are more submissive dick suckers then women?

            I mean it’s one thing to suck another person’s dick while maintaining dominance with eye contact; it’s another to suck it like you’re completely lost to the experience.

            Woman: I’m really rocking this dick-sucking. Look at what I can do to this guy, he’s completely under my power.
            Man: OMNOMNOMNOMNOM *bliss*

  2. Bippy says:

    There’s a lot of opinion there, but zero substance. I think the most yelling phrase in this article is “I can’t prove it, but…”.

    I’ve heard of twisting the facts to fit your argument, but it seems you can’t even find ANY facts to back up your assertions. If you started to examine the facts before proceeding to draw an opinion, you might be approaching something like thought. As it is, this is mindless opinioneering.

    • Hi Bippy! I am not sure which ‘assertions’ you don’t agree with. Or why you think my writing is mindless. It’s the only mind I got!

      But I recommend Mark Simpson’s work on how men like to be looked at if that is your quibble.

      I do hope you are not just feeling left out.

      • AlekNovy says:

        This comment was funny, because the comment did what it accuses you of doing.

        “I think you’re mindless, but I won’t provide examples or specifics why your article is mindless” 😀

        Also, it includes one of the most common logical fallacies I’ve encountered. This one happens to be popular among feminists… Its this logical fallacy:

        “””16. The Moving Goalpost

        A method of denial arbitrarily moving the criteria for “proof” or acceptance out of range of whatever evidence currently exists.”””

        This strategy is based on always claiming that you don’t have enough scientific data to be saying what you’re saying. Even though its a blog post and your opinion.

        The funny thing is these 2 additional points:

        1) MOST of social reality has NOT be studied. So for them to be saying “you have no facts on this opinion” is really a silencing method… Because we won’t have facts on these subjects for another 30-40 years. Do they want you to SHUT UP till then?

        2) Even if you do provide evidence, they just keep rathecing up the “burden of proof”… “Oh but study comes from a college with a lot of republicans, we need one from another uni”. And then if you do, then it becomes “we need peer-reviewed”, and then if you provide that “but it needs to be better designed” and on and on and on…

        They keep ratcheting up the burden of proof required from you, whereas they, themselves, use like feminist surveys done on 10 women in some african village, and then use that “data” to speak about women in New York…

  3. Mark says:

    I can’t prove it, but I suspect Bippy just doesn’t like your opinion.

    It won’t surprise anyone that I find myself tending to agree with you here. Some feminism does seem to have an unhealthy obsession with the male gaze – wanting to complain about its unwavering, relentless objectification of women, at the same time as not wanting to let it look anywhere else. Pretending that it’s still 1973 – but worse. When it’s clear to anyone with eyes to see that the male gaze has also become a male-on-male gaze. Men are looking at one another and at themselves. Especially at themselves. And the general media culture now spends much if not most of its time looking at men.

    I disagree somewhat with what Typhonblue writes: one of the striking things about many of the Tubecrush chaps is that they do look quite tarty. It’s not the way they’re responding to the camera – most seem unaware of it – it’s the way they’ve presented and dressed themselves. And conditioned their bodies.

    Like many young men today they were asking for it. Attention, that is.

    • I agree Mark. I think most of these men have left the house prepared for that likely eventuality that they might get photographed, or otherwise captured by the metrosexual gayze…

  4. Also I am looking forwards to the Paris MetroCrush and the New York SubwayCrush and the Newcastle MetroCrush (though those middle aged Northern ladies may really not want to be invisible there!)

  5. elflojo84 says:

    Did you read the Graun article Q? Some classic “darker reasons” feminist pseudo-logic right there.

    It’s honestly getting to the stage when I don’t even feel offended by feminists explaining to me that this is just a bit of fun, but if I do it to her she see’s me as a potential rapist. Make of that what you will. Maybe I’ll start getting rapey, just to show those bitches. That’ll learn ’em

    • yeah I read the Graun article. I know. But the thing is. No. I won’t say it.

      Just carry on being yourself! How was your rugger bugger trip?

      • elflojo84 says:

        Interesting! Drink, drugs, sporno and possibly the start of an insanely complicated love affair. The Amsterdam “whores in windows” thing is totally surreal as well. I found it an interesting study in my own sexuality, as in how a physical specimin so perfect could be so unattractive to me.

        Thing is, being offended is what should be “being myself”.

  6. elflojo84 says:

    Oops, forgot to finish:

    Thing is, being offended is what should be “being myself”. I have strong principles about respect for personal liberty, and anti-bigotry in any form – that is – ahem, in theory – why I read the Guardian (!!). That I lack the energy to get angry at such blatant bigotry directed at me and approximately 50% of my friends and family is worryign to me on some level. Soem sort of Stockholm syndrome / desire to get laid.

  7. Well, I don’t know if it is a relatively new thing that men are presenting themselves to be “looked at.”

    Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant–all those guys were presenting themselves to be looked at and not just there to play music. And that was over thirty years ago…..

    • sure stoner but they were pop stars.

      I know there have been fashions and subcultures for men since the ‘teenager’ emerged in the 1950s. But the ubiquity of the young man who demands to be looked at is no so complete that it is really quite recent I’d say.

      But Mr Simpson is the expert on the history of this stuff.

  8. Sunny H says:

    and the fact that actually, it is men, not women, who are the chief objectified commodities these days.

    Where’s the evidence to back this up?

    • Hi Sunny

      the evidence as far as I can see is everywhere!

      If you look at examples Mark Simpson gives of men’s objectification you will see how huge it is:

      Men are objectified as sportsmen, as has been seen by the number of sportsmen doing advertising, and the number of photos/videos of sportsmen shown daily.

      Men are objectified as fashion models

      Men are objectified as ‘reality TV stars’

      Men are objectified in pornography, magazines, films, TV.

      Men also objectify themselves, by going to the gym and showing off their bodies all the time for everyone to see.

      I often look in magazines and see more pictures of men in objectified poses than women.

      When I say ‘chief objectified commodities’ I mean it is the male body that is sold to us more carefully and more consistently than the woman’s nowadays.

      And, like the women supermodels in the 1980s/90s, men make a LOT of money out of being objectified. Just ask Mike Sorrentino of Jersey Shore fame.

      • mcduff says:

        I think there is quite a difference between claiming that male bodies are objectified and commodified, and that men are the “chief” objectified commodities these days. The male body might be for sale, but is it really for sale more carefully and consistently than the female body?

        I’d also raise an eyebrow to the idea that male bodies being viewed as sexual and dangerous commodities is all that much of a massively new thing. Elvis happened back in the 50s and 60s. For as long as there has been a visual media there have been primped and presented versions of both genders that accord with a certain vision of society. And, it has always been the male Rock Star/Movie Star/Fashion Icon/Superstar Designer who has been able to command the higher price and the greater level of control, with very few exceptions (supermodels in the 80s, mainstream het porn performers… where else has there been a price premium on female bodies rather than male ones?)

        Is there an “gaze at men” equivalent of the “gaze at women” industry populated by middle shelf “we’re not porn honest” magazines like FHM, Nuts and Zoo? I know that Cosmo and their ilk do some admiring of men, but even they tend to have women on the covers of their magazines and selling the products inside. And the overall thrust (so to speak) of those magazines tends to be less “phwoar girls check out the pecs on this one” and more “here’s how you can drop into some normative myths about gender performance like a pro, which we’re going to claim makes ‘him’ go wild in bed!” Because, y’know, female desire is unladylike and lesbians don’t want to buy makeup in Cosmo-world.

        It’s probably the kind of thing that someone should do an actual survey on. Count the prevalence of male vs female images presented via media channels, as well as contexts and such, over the course of a month. Also, to see the difference between “High status” bodies like Beckham and that Jersey Shore rent-a-douche and “low status”, unnamed “generic body presented for your admiration” type situations. My guess is that men getting their bodies out in the media are probably accorded the privilege of being allowed names a little more than women are, but without research I’m guessing off personal anecdotage just as much as you are.

  9. Tim says:

    I am kinda thrilled that you picked this up.

    I was told about it by a feminist friend living in westminster.
    She basically made the same arguments, you know, that the ‘male gaze’ is a terrible weapon that immediatly invalidates everything it is laid upon and that we should not go for an eye-for-an-eye solution on it.

    Nevertheless she believes that being objectified as sexual objects might teach men a lesson and show them how women feel everyday.

    I don’t think that is going to work though. I mean, if I were to ride the London Tube today and someone would make a photo of me and upload it with the comment “I would totally DO that hawt body of yours”, I would probably feel flattered (even if the comment came from a gay man, I am straight).

    Truth be told, my first thought about that website was “Would someone take a photo of me ?” when I first visited it.

    • Ha! Maybe you can show this to your friend Id be interested to see how she’d respond to the counter-argument.

      The thing is I think women find it a compliment to be looked at by men, too. BUt they have been trained to believe it is always a bad thing. And sometimes attention is aggressive and unwanted, but not always.

      • AlekNovy says:

        And sometimes attention is aggressive and unwanted, but not always.

        It shouldn’t matter if its unwanted, because by definition that requires telepathy to prevent.

        Un-wanted sexual advances, sure, that’s a legit concept. If you ask a chick out, and keep asking her out even though she says no, that’s fine.

        I can’t see how attention can be unwanted though.

        • sometimes people don’t want to be stared at. Or even spoken to. Some of us are anti-social creatures! 😀

          • AlekNovy says:

            Ya, I get what you mean. But when I said its impossible to have “unwanted attention”, I didn’t mean its impossible to dislike being looked at.

            I mean its impossible to define attention as unwanted, and hence unfair to punish the attention-giver for it. The only person who knows the attention is unwanted is the receiver. You can’t punish someone for breaking rules he/she didn’t know existed.

        • mcduff says:

          I dunno, dude. I mean, if you describe “attention” in its most broad psychological terms then yes, fine. But I can think of several ways that attention, even if not explictly a sexual advance, can be creepy and unwanted.

          Didn’t your mother tell you it was rude to stare?

          • yes but sometimes sexual advances are ‘wanted’. People flirt. They look at each other. On the tube especially. I know lots of people who have had dates based on tube encounters. That’s life!

          • mcduff says:

            I’m not saying attention is never wanted. I’m just responding to the notion that it can also never be unwanted.

    • AlekNovy says:

      Nevertheless she believes that being objectified as sexual objects might teach men a lesson and show them how women feel everyday.

      We find most of the things feminists whine about flattering too. Like, for example, pop-feminists whine about fumbled awkward pickups all the time. Like, will write a 5 page post whining about this guy who looked at her awkwardly for an hour before he walked up and said something awkward. Instead of seeing it as plain shyness, they see at as creepy oppressiveness lol

      Like personally, whenever women did an awkward pickup attempt on me, I WAS FLATTERED AS HECK. Like, you know, some girl continually repositioning herself for 2 hours and looking my way, and finally getting courage to come over and introduce herself. I see that as a compliment.

  10. P.s. Mark, Tim, et al, a thing that crossed my mind is that some of the men taking the photos may not be ‘gay’. They may be ‘bi curious’ and this could be a safe way to explore homo-desire for them. That’s partly why if it was turned into a dating site, that side of things may be spoiled for all but the most confident of ‘bi-curious’ men.

    • Tim says:

      That reminds me of a scene I observed in a gym.

      Two buffed out and totally straight dudes taking rounds lifting weights and cheering one another. That being said, I have been wondering if this has nothing to do with sexuality at all, at least directly.

      I thought, perhaps, that we might have some kind of male body cult starting up or going on right now. Like people who are passionate about their mazda cars and constantly show of to one another how many LEDs and speakers and whatnot they squeezed in there.

      As if one is doing some workout and someone else comes along and tells him how totally rad he is looking. And then the first person is returning the favor by complimenting on the seconds person success.

      • yes Tim I don’t think it is all sexual, just as women preen and groom each other and admire each other’s bodies and compete. I think it is quite a primal thing. we are just uptight about it for men.

  11. Interestingly enough-if you’ve ever looked through a men’s fitness magazine-it is tons of pictures of tanned, ripped guys with 6 pack abs and advertisements for supplements. Very little info on nutrition or technique.

    It’s very difficult to find good workout info…

    • yep stoner thats what Mark Simpson has been trying to tell us! He has a book (e-book) out soon on kindle I will promote it here. well worth reading, but no pictures of ripped torsos I am afraid. he can’t afford them!

  12. arctic_jay says:

    Women aren’t threatened by the male gaze. That’s just another feminist victim myth. If anything most most are more afraid of looking at women than women are of being looked at. Women know that 99.9% of encounters with men are going to be harmless.

    The idea of the male gaze is another shit test in the female arsenal of shit tests, and feminism is a shit tester’s playbook.

    The purpose of a shit test is to see if a man will accept dehumanizing treatment. If he accepts it, he loses. If he looks at a strange woman furtively, as if he is try to get away with something he shouldn’t have, then he’s a loser, pervert, or creep. If he looks at her as if he has every right to and could easily do better if he wanted, than she’ll melt and immediately adopt a more feminine response.

    That’s why I think you’re right to why feminists will have such a confused and contradictory objection to the male gaze being directed at other men. Women have an unconscious sexual respect and fear towards male homosexuality. It’s the ultimate sign that a man has other options.

    • I know what you mean ajay about homos being the ultimate sign that ‘a man has other options’ and in a way this metrosexual homo-erotic blurred voyeurism of TubeCrush etc is particularly threatening. Because a man has ALL the options here!

    • AlekNovy says:

      Women have an unconscious sexual respect and fear towards male homosexuality. It’s the ultimate sign that a man has other options.

      I think it has more to do (possibly) with the fact that women have a conscious desire to oppress men into relationships. This is why single, heterosexual men are singled out, threatened, mocked, shamed and dehumanized.

      The idea is to make it so that its shameful to be a single, heterosexual male, unaccompanied by a woman.

      • helenadiba says:

        “women have a conscious desire to oppress men into relationships”

        But isn’t this just … anecdotal evidence? 😉

        Isn’t it’s a bit elementary to be making generalisations about so many human beings?

        I am single by choice and more than happy that way. I know other women like me too. I am not an exception.

  13. redpesto says:

    It’s not just the ‘women no longer centre of attention’ argument, it’s the attempt to argue that ‘we women mustn’t stoop to “their” level’ (the second big ‘fail’ after the idea that ‘when we women do X, it doesn’t really affect men’). elflojo’s reference to Tanya Gold’s trainwreck piece on male/female attitudes to stripping was definitely in evidence. (Note to self: must get round to watching The Full Monty as a study in what happens when men turn to sex work)

  14. typhonblue says:

    “Note to self: must get round to watching The Full Monty as a study in what happens when men turn to sex work”

    According to bouncers who’ve worked clubs with male strippers… it’s probably not an accurate representation.

    Actual male strippers are often treated more like pieces of meat–pawed, grabbed, abused–then their female counterparts.

    Some strip club owners, I’ve heard, stopped having ladies’ nights because the women became so out of control.

  15. redpesto says:

    @typhoonblue – thanks (I was thinking more about how the film is positioned as a comedy, whereas Pretty Woman is regarded by some feminists as a bogus recruitment ad…but I’m taking the thread off-topic)

  16. Helen Adiba says:

    “the fact that actually, it is men, not women, who are the chief objectified commodities these days”

    I beg to differ, all around me I see the female form used inordinately in comparison to men’s bodies, and I see excessive expectations placed inordinately on women’s bodies.

    Men are NOT immune to this, I agree, but I still believe that it is women who are overly objectified and men are trailing behind.

    Still, I don’t think there is anything useful to be gained from discussing who has it worst, or who is being objectified the most. Basic human rights and dignities and freedoms should apply to all genders, male female and anything inbetween, irrespective of what has gone before i.e. if one gender has been historically opressed, that does not give them the right to take liberties on their opressor.

    Sure, it is somewhat understandable, but that doesn’t make it right IMO.

    • AlekNovy says:

      I beg to differ, all around me I see the female form used inordinately in comparison to men’s bodies, and I see excessive expectations placed inordinately on women’s bodies.

      That’s what’s known as anecdotal evidence and selective perception. For example, if you and your SO are trying to get pregnant, you all of a sudden see pregnant people everywhere you go. If you buy a red-car, you start seeing red cars everywhere.

      • Helen Adiba says:

        I actually edited out a sentence on my post that said that I am aware this might be seen as selective awareness. I removed it because it made my post look a bit wanky and full of disclaimers.

        I am willing to concede that it is partially selective perception. Couple of points:

        1) Anecdotal evidence is all I have right now, the argument about not having any official/scientific research to back up my point has been debunked on this very blog (at least I think it was *this* blog)
        2) 90% of my socialising is with men. I work in a male dominated industry, and almost all my hobbies are male dominated, and therefore most of my friends are male. We have lots of discussions about precisely this sort of thing, and most of them concede that it appears even in their eyes that women seem to be objectified more.

        The problem with this discussion is it’s never ending. How can we even decide who is objectified the most? Who really cares? Like I admitted, it’s ultimately not useful to discuss.

        The reason I brought it up was to challenge QRG on the idea that because women are not being objectified, we resent not being the centre of attention.

        • The thing is Helen men and women subconsciously ignore men’s objectification I think because

          a) it doesnt fit in with feminists’ claims of women being oppressed by the ‘male gaze’
          b) men’s objectification is not just aimed at women but at other men. it is ‘queer’ and men don’t want to admit to looking with desire on other men.

          see for details!

  17. arctic_jay says:

    “Still, I don’t think there is anything useful to be gained from discussing who has it worst, or who is being objectified the most.”

    And yet you started your post with your opinion that women are still objectified more. Feminists really are the most predictable people on the planet.

    • Helen Adiba says:


      Yes I started my post with one thought, and then ended on another. Not a crime to discuss something less than useful, and the later to point out the inherent pointlessness of it all.

      I don’t think your post contributed anything constructive to this thread, except to patronise me. That wasn’t very nice.

      Do you disagree with anything I wrote? Am more than willing to have a civil discussion without resorting to snide remarks. Please oblige me.

      • Hi Helen Arctic Jay has quite a direct style. But generally he doesn’t personally insult people. If he does he will have me to answer to.

        I think his point is that feminists, even if they are saying ‘let’s not play oppression olympics’ end up playing that game of saying ‘women have it worse’.

        He has told me off for doing it myself and he was right in the example he picked out. And I am not even a feminist.

        • Helen Adiba says:

          Oh I fully admit my earlier post was contradictary, but I have never come across this suggestion that men are objectified more than women. Very surprising. I read your post above in response to mine and I do agree men’s objectification is less noticed for the reasons you gave.

          Tell you what, I’m going to go about my business today with an eye on how much male objectification I am exposed to. Should be a fun experiment. 🙂

  18. mcduff says:

    Actually, the thing that I think gets me most about shit like this is the financial aspect. Presumably this site is making money, via ad revenue or whatever. To do that they’re using images of people taken without their permission, as the central selling point of their site.

    Call me mercantile, but if it was me on there my thoughts wouldn’t be “I’m flattered” or “oh noes I’m being objectified” but “where’s my cut you thieving bastards?!”

    • lots of people make money out of others. In some shape or form. And the ‘cut’ is in having your photo online and being told you are sexy and hot, it is appreciation. If people complain, they take the photos down.

      Look at all the dating sites we pay to use and don’t find love. Is it a con? Maybe. They haven’t made much money yet anyway!

      • mcduff says:

        Even if I complain, who knows how long my photo has been up there earning them revenue? I haven’t signed a release form and I’m not a public figure. I know I can’t take a photo of you with my DSLR and sell that on my hypothetical photography website to make money.

        That they will take the photo down is not the point. The point is that they shouldn’t be making money out of me without saying that they can. If I upload my photo to a website I’m assumed to be consenting to have it looked at. If you upload my photo onto a website you’re assumed to have checked with me. Here it’s assumed by the company that you will have *not* checked with me. I’m not sure precisely how illegal it is, but if I were them I’d be checking with my lawyers.

        Does this not seem like a power imbalance to you? I get to use your image to make money, you get “appreciation” (which, along with a dollar, will buy you one cheeseburger). Basic economic unfairness, is what it seems like to me. These people are technically unpaid labour.

  19. I quote Alek:
    Ya, I get what you mean. But when I said its impossible to have “unwanted attention”, I didn’t mean its impossible to dislike being looked at.

    I mean its impossible to define attention as unwanted, and hence unfair to punish the attention-giver for it. The only person who knows the attention is unwanted is the receiver. You can’t punish someone for breaking rules he/she didn’t know existed.

    • mcduff says:

      But that’s precisely my objection. It *is* possible to define attention as unwanted. We have all kinds of social rules about it. The example of it being rude to stare is just one of them.

      And, even in individual cases, anyone who’s more-or-less on the normal side of the autistic spectrum can tell when attention crosses from acceptable to unwanted. It’s not like nonverbal social cues are something feminists came up with in the 1970s. Chimpanzees can do this shit. Humans are biologically pretty good at it, unless we’re one of the minority where that part of our neurology fell over on us.

      • I think you are being ridiculous. But I don’t know if I can be arsed to argue.
        These photos are taken without people’s knowledge. therefore they are not receiving ‘unwanted’ attention but ‘non-consensual’ attention.

        if they then see their photo online they can complain, not about the photo being taken (for that is not illegal) but about it being available to the public.

        The ‘attention’ happened way before the photo was put online and they didn’t even notice it.

        • mcduff says:

          Well, I as at least in part talking more generally than just this site, as far as the concept of “unwanted attention” being the kind of thing that an attention giver would have no clue about. That sounds very much like a cop out to avoid personal responsibility for thinking things through, to me.

          And for some things – well, for a lot of things – the default position of consent should be set to “no”.

          Which is to say that according to pretty normal – or so I thought – social rules, you shouldn’t need to be explicitly told to know that something is out of line. The answer to the question “can I take a photo of this stranger and use it on the internet?” is “only if they say I can.”

          I mean, it’s not *quite* that cut and dried in law, but profiting from images of people isn’t exactly a new area of case law. Photographers taking stock footage and crowd shots have to be careful to avoid identifying features in any figure that can take up more than (IIRC) 25% of the frame, particularly if they aren’t somewhere there is a general expectation of photography. If I’m filming documentary stuff we need to be careful to put up signs saying “we are filming here tonight, if you have a problem please let us know.”

          I mean, I don’t know quite how illegal or otherwise this particular kind of thing is, but I do know that with my experience of photography guidelines I really wouldn’t want to be their lawyer if it ever came to a class action suit by the people whose photos had been taken. It might be that the legal situation is that people “on the tube” is one of those “reasonable expectation” places these days, or it might be that they didn’t consider getting legal advice.

          But the ethical concerns are, as I say, pretty clearly delineated as far as normal, “golden rule” style basic social boundaries goes. Perhaps I’m just suffering from future shock and we should no longer have the same expectations of privacy as I’m used to in the modern post-facebook universe. But I’d not personally risk being the test case that proves that.

          • you miss the point that:

            a) People feel flattered if their photo is on Tube Crush
            b) This is not the first time photos of people who didn’t give consent have been uploaded onto a website or used by artists in their work commercially. The internet has been around for far too long for that
            c) mobile phone technology means photos are taken all the time without people realising. Just go on flikr or tumblr and you will see.

            Tubecrush has been around for a little while. People’s photos have now been in the press. Has anyone complained? I don’t think so.

  20. Todd says:

    “I think the real reason this has pissed off feminists, is they feel left out”

    That sounds a bit far-fetched to me. I’ll have to see what my female friends think about it but my suspicion is that a lots of feminists secretly quite like the idea of the tables being turned on men. They’re just scared shitless that admitting it will result in more objectification of women in return. They’ll do anything to stop that “scurge”, including dampen their own desires. Sorry state of affairs as that is, it’s nothing resembling jealousy and the suggestion it might be seems preposterous. Unless you’re speaking as a woman who feels left out herself?

  21. Todd says:

    Fair enough but, still, the jealousy theory was a bit silly wasn’t it?

  22. Todd says:

    Do expand. I really don’t think you have a case to make here. You said yourself you can’t prove it but I’m all ears.

  23. Daren says:

    What strikes me is that this is just an extension of the way that gossip magazines (and their equivalent newspaper pages) have normalised the idea that its okay to violate people’s privacy. I find this a very depressing precedent: further violation of men’s privacy. Quite frankly, I’d be very surprised if that site doesn’t end up facing legal challenges, after all, they are so obviously going to try to make money off the site.

  24. elflojo84 says:

    Wow, this one really has run and run!

    I’m in agreement with MacDuff, it’s all very well for you to say that many people would be flattered Quiri (I’d include myself in that), but no-one taking or uploading the photo knows that. I absolutely agree that the default position should be ‘no consent’.

    And the point that you can ask for it to be taken down is utterly bogus, not jsut fro all the reasons above but more importantly because there is no guarantee anyone on there will ever find out. You say tubecrush has existed for years, well I’ve commuted on the tube every working day for five years, how many times, potentially, (if I was good-looking enough…no comment…), could I have been uploaded before I learned of the site’s existence last month??

    And I still haven’t checked it, because I don’t care. But if I did care, you think the obligation should be on me to trawl through every fucking photo on that site on the off-chance that I might find one of myself in order to have it taken down? And then repeat this at regular intervals to make sure I catch any new ones of me? And that’s assuming I have ever learnt this site exists, there will be plenty of people on there who have no idea that tubecrush exists.

    • elflojo84 says:

      Oh and FYI:

      “I know lots of people who have had dates based on tube encounters”

      I’ve been on several dates, and more, with girls I’ve met on the tube, to the extent that for a period some of my friends called me the Central Line Sex Pest.

      Not relevant to the discussion, but hey, I’m intensely proud of my record in this area.

      • youre starting to sound like a feminist, elflojo.

        we live in a different culture now where ‘voyeurism’ is the norm and people take photos with their phones all the time.

        anyway the data protection act 1998 is quite difficult to enforce and before that it was legal to take photos of people in public anyway.

        Your photo probably isn’t on there. Don’t worry.

        • elflojo84 says:

          Hey, I’m a man-sized teddy bear in a red cape, I guarantee you my photo is on there. That combination of the machismo of a superhero with the sensitivity of a fluffy toy, I’m every woman or gay man’s dream.

          “we live in a different culture now where ‘voyeurism’ is the norm and people take photos with their phones all the time.”

          Firstly, taking photos is very different to publicising them, especially publicising them without the knowledge of the subject. If I caught someone I didn’t know taking a photo of me I’d find it pretty rude anyway, showing thosuands more people I don’t know is a massive extension of that rudeness, and one which potentially moves from the realms of rudeness to the realms of seriously disrespectful, even illegal.

          Secondly, that it happens doesn’t make it right. We still, as a society, haven’t got thto the point where the rights to one’s image are not considered one’s own. And I don’t think ‘voyeurism’ has become the norm. I think people choose to compromise their own privacy much more than they used to, with facebook etc, but that is a choice, I do not think it is considered ‘the norm’ to take photos of people without their permission. That is still viewed as pretty creepy, even if it is a woman doing it, by most people.

          • elflojo84 says:

            PS I don’t sound like a feminist, because I believe the same thing regardless of the gender of the subject, and regardless of the gender of the person taking the photo.

  25. the general rule is it is ok to take photos in a public place without people’s permission.

    the data protection act of 1998 has confused this a little, as, as you say, it is now illegal to use those images and store them without someone’s permission.

    I think you are being a bit holier-than-thou

  26. elflojo84 says:

    I’m not really talking about the legality as much as the morality. All I’m saying is taking a photo of someone is no big deal, although a little rude, but publicising it is way, way beyond that.

    I don’t really know what you mean by holier-than-thou, I guess you’re referring to the tone rather than the substance? I can only apologise for that, I know I can be a bit of a pompous twat when I’m disagreeing with someone. Doesn’t diminish my arguments though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s