Hey there Guys. Today I came across an interesting article in The Huffington Post talking about the unrealistic expectations placed on gay men via “social networking” aka “pickup” apps like Grindr, Scruff, Growlr and the many others that are popping up.
It’s an almost weekly occurrence that I hear of friends being treated poorly and sometimes even abused via other users of these apps.
A good example is one friend, a warm friendly and attractive man, being sent the unsolicited message from the other side of the globe that you can see above.
Apps like Growlr and Grindr have a number of issues that concern me.
First is that due to the ease in creating anonymous profiles, it’s easy for people to say things that I would hope they would never say to a persons face. If someone was to tell me that I had too many tats and that I wasn’t a bear I’d be more then happy to tell them to go fuck themselves.
By nature of the relative anonymity some people feel that it’s open slather to be rude, discriminatory and even racist. Just a brief look at Stop Racism & Internalized Homophobia blog shows the ease people feel when it comes to displays of racism and homophobia when they feel they can go unchecked.
More insidious is that these apps can reinforce feelings of low self esteem and body image problems.
We live in a world that worships bodily perfection. Just a looking at any of the productions from major gay porn studios shows a highly unrealistic ideal of body perfection.
People who don’t have the specific “look” can at best feel simply ignored and at worse receive unsolicited comments like pictured above leaving people feeling bad with questions about their own body.
Sadly gay magazines reinforce these feeling with many people not being aware that almost universally the images are carefully staged with perfect lighting and are photo-shopped in post production.
Model Cameron Russell did the following Ted talk exposing many of the myths and misconceptions reinforced by the modelling industry.
Personally I don’t like the game play with many of these apps so I don’t use them.
If you are a person who has some self doubt or concerns about body image these apps may not be good for you.
I think as a gay men we have a long way to go in the support, care and acceptance of ourselves, our bodies and the way we care and interact with others.
What are your thoughts about apps like Growlr, Grindr and Scruff? I’d love to hear your thoughts.