This piece was submitted for our upcoming release “Injustices and Inequalities”. You still have a chance to submit! Please email any poetry, artwork, writing or other stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15th!
No Means No
by Sydney Jones
I used to think I was pretty open to going on a date with anyone. Meeting guys was exciting and I liked that there was no obligation to see them again. Fast forward three years and our generation’s darling, the internet, has me questioning everything I ever knew about the dynamic of dating.
There is a taboo still attached to online dating, even though it has taken many forms to suit our ever-evolving hook-up culture. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this hook-up culture, in fact, I think the freedoms it provides all genders is unlike anything society has ever prescribed. Women are no longer the ones to be courted, or have their dinner paid for because men and women are equal, right? I can tell you firsthand that this is 100% wrong, just from how I have been treated by men on online dating.
This phenomena seems to have evolved where there still exists the niceties of old-fashioned dating. “Hey, how are you?” still precludes any sort of sexual conversation in most cases. What I’ve found most unnerving is what happens when I reject a man (yes, a man, never a woman). He will immediately go on the defensive. Let’s say, we’re on Okcupid. I look at his profile, and see we have a 40% match. Immediately this sets off alarm bells in my head because there is an algorithm on this website which allows you to make some questions (which you both answer) more important than others. In my case, these are questions relating to how men view women. For example, “Do you think women have an obligation to shave their legs?” is always at the top of my list. That and some other sexism-related questions.
I don’t even have to make up a hypothetical situation here to explain to you how these conversations play out after I politely message back, telling the man I’m not interested. 8 times out of 10, he will ask something along the lines of “Why not?”. I sincerely feel that I should not have to answer that question. If I’m in a bar and a guy starts to talk to me, I will make it clear if I’m not interested. I’ll tell him I have to go or show him with body language. But online, you have to be more direct. I do have to say “No.”
“No”, is not a word men like to hear. I guess it’s because they take it personally. Well mate, it is personal. I don’t like you, and I don’t want to have sex with you. The internet has removed the social graces of real life, where no means no. No should still mean no. I should not have to defend why I am not interested over the internet. I do not know you, and I do not have to get to know you before I reject you. I strongly believe that these basic interactions are where lines of consent begin to be crossed. It is not okay.
You may have read this and thought to yourself “Well men aren’t all like that”. You are right. They are not all like that. But that does not in any way detract from the fact that there is a serious problem where I feel like I’m doing something wrong by rejecting someone I have never met before.