I got a Facebook friend request from a bogus name about a week ago. The account had no friends and in the place where it usually says the person’s nickname, it read “UAlbany Crushes“. I declined that sucker faster than the cyber-sphere could handle. (Little did I know, that fake account would become University of Albany’s newest fad.)
When I was a freshman, we had CollegeACB.com, which was an anonymous forum, mostly used to trash other students. Before CollegeACB, there was JuicyCampus.com, used for a similar purpose. What happened to these sites? They got shut down due to the ridiculous amount of cyber bullying. The online harassment on these sites was so horrible, it was even rumored to have driven some victims to suicide. (These rumors spread like wildfire after CollegeACB was shut down.) On these now nostalgic sites, there were surprisingly a lot of positive forum topics. (I was even voted for a couple of times in the “Nicest Jews of UAlbany” thread) Although, when it boils down to it, the negative comments definitely outweighed the positive ones in nature. For every vote or two I got for being the nicest, there was some other anon posting their disapproval. I can remember, practically word-for-word, the post which said “if by nice, you mean annoying”, but I can’t remember what the positive posts said at all.
UAlbany Crushes doesn’t have its own website, only a googledoc where you can anonymously submit info about your crush and they also have a Facebook page. Some of my favorite submissions include #178 – “The scooter kid on Colonial could get it anyway he wants it.” and #235 – “Mitch Earleywine: Please sit on my face.” These are the love letters of the college generation.
In a way, I’m really proud of how sex positive our generation is. There are straight and queer posts, from all genders, on the feed, all which have been treated fairly respectfully. Though I’m sure 50% of the posts are trolls, its kind of pleasing to see that people are open about sexual pleasure, on all sides of the spectrum.
There are downsides to this honesty, too. Reason number one being: It’s creepy. There have been some accounts of people saying that they have felt stalked after reading these anonymous submissions. Unlike a cat-call on the street, these letters are posted for all the public to read. Senders writing things like #221, “I have been eyeing you ever since I saw you walk up the dutch tower stairs. That blonde hair is beyond sexy.” are sexualizing the receiver of their message without that person’s permission. Even though this feels like harmless fun on the internet from a bunch of 18-22 year olds, its sexual harassment and can lead to a reader feeling objectified and fearful.
I’m not here to spoil the fun. I’m really proud of the way people are able to open up about their sexual wants and needs. Kudos to you for your honesty and bravery.Curious about how creepy everyone else thinks this is, I contacted some of the admired to ask how they feel about their admirers. Rebecca B told me “I didn’t even know about the page until my friend tagged me in the post that someone wrote about me. I thought the post was so sweet and I didn’t mind that they wrote about me! But I probably wouldn’t feel the same way if someone had written something mean so I guess it depends on the situation. However, today I was very flattered and the page just seems like a funny idea.”
I’m still nervous about the nature of some of these posts. When someone sends in a message about how they love all girls in yoga pants and how we should keep it up because our asses look delicious, I get a little worried. I don’t wear my clothes just for your boner, mister. Frankly, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable that when people are given the chance to be anonymous, they have no problem admitting to who the inspiration for their daily masturbation is. This isn’t craigslist missed connections. This perpetuates rape culture because we’re allowing people to make unsolicited remarks about our bodies. As of yet, nobody has complained about being objectified, and most people, like Rebecca, seem to be flattered by the attention.
The more surprising posts are, in fact, the ones from men who have come under a hard case of Nice Guy Syndrome. #545 writes, “If I’ve learned anything from this page it’s that girls love being told they’re pretty, hot, sexy, etc. when they’re online and it’s anonymous. But when a guy walks up to a girl and politely compliments her or starts to flirt or whatever, she gets creeped out. If you ask me, girls have to understand that guys aren’t out to screw anything with 2 legs and a heartbeat. If a guy comes up to you in person and seems like a cool guy, he probably is. Give him a chance.” Women do not owe you their time, #545. Anonymous messages on the internet have a certain degree of separation, and if these girls are complimented by your online requests to use your face as a chair, do not get upset that the pick-up line did not work well in person. If you’re curious about how to approach these ladies out on campus, a fellow poster provided this helpful guide.
So far so good. It’s hilarious, as of now and a great waste of time if you’re willing to read through them. Just to make me feel better, I’ll repeat some important words of wisdom: No means no and wrap it before you tap it.
Author:Ingrid aka lilgrrrlcreep