Facebook voyeurism: Are YOU hooked?
Kuber Sharma puts forward the theory that social networking has legitimised voyeurism. Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh
During my teenage years, I was the only 'single' guy in the class, jealous of everyone else.
When I finished school, I never thought I'd ever see those guys again. I still fantasised about all the girls, though. But then Facebook happened. And I got a whole new way to ignore the men and gawk at their women.
No, I'm serious. It's well known that the Internet was invented by Al Gore to combat the greenhouse effect with the collective cold sighs of geeks. The first website I ever visited was the legendary desipapa.com (adult website: click with caution). To date, the most useful and memorable one I've ever seen. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
After all sex sells. And we're all buying. You know what you were browsing for when you stumbled upon this blog post. Since the days of A/S/L-based chatting, the primary purpose of social media has been friendship.
It's a jungle out there. Even if I'm not looking for a prospective mate on the net, my baboon brain would like to impress every girl -- or at least assert my alphaness. It's a combination of self-pity, self-loathing and narcissism. Basically all good stuff in life. And it gets better for those who are actually looking to hook up. Primarily just to get good fodder for FMyLife.com.
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Facebook has legitimised voyeurism. More than the time spent checking random photographs, what's discomforting is the sexualised manner in which we view them.
Since you're sitting alone you can really stare. Little bits of skin grab your attention in the thumbnails. Extra time (late at night) is reserved for your co-worker's bikini shots from that Thailand trip. You alternate between lusting after her and judging her for those photographs.
The important bit is that you don't tell her that you've seen them. She knows. But you can't tell her that. She knows and that's why she's posted them too. But you still can't talk about them in polite society. All you can do is like her status update about the holiday. Alongside 70 other men. Some of them think it's foreplay and some that it's a tease.
Millions of memes have been made about the disproportionate attention that women attract on social media spaces. I know of digital gurus who advise women to post a tantalising shot of a bare shoulder to get more followers on Twitter. And mentioning something rude about sex/body/love in their bio will get them a real fan following.
@ipoonampandey discovered that early. The dirty secret is that marketing suits seek endorsement from 'good looking' women to support their official page on FB. Yes, the women are more powerful than the Pied Piper and the men dafter then the rodents of Hamelin.
Checking out men
The modern men try to be their mad best on the web. They'll share Satyam Jayate posts, support online campaigns against gender-based violence and try to macho up by talking about sports. And it all goes to waste. Even that fab profile pic.
Yes, freshly-brewed research from my female counsels over Dunkin' Donuts says that women do check out men and get amused by their shenanigans, but that's about it.
It never leads to a wild fling. Maybe a party invite or vague plans to fix you up with her 'fat-but-cute' friend. But that's it. Yes, we all know a couple that met on the 'net. But then we also know a couple that met at the police station as well.
So feel free to be yourself next time you log on. Don't be politically correct. Don't join a cause just for the heck of it. Don't show off holidays that I can't afford. Even beat your chest if you want to.
And I, now trying to settle into domesticity, am developing an app with which I can fart freely on Facebook. I've been holding it in for such a long time!