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Facebook Porn

Facebook Porn PhotoAn offhand comment from a male friend that guys like to look at the Facebook profiles of their female friends creeped Amanda Marcotte out, to the amusement of Radley Balko.   But the substance of Marcotte’s piece is actually more interesting than the topline.

But my friend told me guys aren’t looking for dirty pictures on Facebook, they’re looking at ordinary pictures of women, the kind that you and I associate with Facebook. Women partying with friends. Women goofing off in the park. Women sitting at home trying on a pose that’s serious and deep. At worst, they’re looking at women in Facebook-approved sexy poses, or pictures from the beach.

“I think the theory is that the women on Facebook are, if nothing else, real,” he explained, “and often people that you might have a real-life attraction to.”

[...]

On one hand, it’s hard not to feel optimistic if so many men are having fantasies about “real” women. Many straight women are plagued by the fear that the endless supply of photographed sex objects offered to men as fantasy fodder means guys are losing their taste for boring, everyday women with imperfect human bodies.

[...]

On the other hand, there’s an undeniable ick factor to the idea of men getting off to pictures you posted for your friends to platonically peruse. No one wants to think of their male friends (or worse, their coworkers or bosses) projecting them into sex fantasies.

As I joked on Twitter, I expect a marked increase in traffic to Marcotte’s Facebook profile after this.

On a more serious note, though, I’d reiterate a point I’ve made repeatedly over the years:  Use a modicum of judgment in what you’re posting online.   If you’re a good looking woman, there’s probably not much you’re going to do to dissuade male fantasy; I’m not even sure why you’d want to.   But your public profile shouldn’t be easily confused with a porn site, either, unless you’re making a conscious decision in that direction.

UPDATE: Lest I be accused of blaming the “victim” here, I’m making a tangential point rather than a direct one: People are looking at your profiles, so you ought to be cognizant of how you’re perceived. As I say, there’s not much women can do to prevent males from fantasizing about their pics if they’re hot.  Men fantasized about their hot female friends before Facebook. Or computers. Or cameras.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    On the other hand, there’s an undeniable ick factor to the idea of men getting off to pictures you posted for your friends to platonically peruse. No one wants to think of their male friends (or worse, their coworkers or bosses) projecting them into sex fantasies.

    This may be the greatest islamic recruiting opportunity ever. Once the penny drops that a guy who might want to see pictures can also look at the real, pulsatung, in the flesh body, sales of burkas will soar.

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  2. Ugh says:

    But your public profile shouldn’t be easily confused with a porn site, either, unless you’re making a conscious decision in that direction.

    Uh, but Marcotte (who I can’t stand generally) is being creeped out by guys looking at pictures of:

    Women partying with friends. Women goofing off in the park. Women sitting at home trying on a pose that’s serious and deep. At worst, they’re looking at women in Facebook-approved sexy poses, or pictures from the beach.

    That doesn’t sound like “easily confused with a porn site,” except to the extent she might be underestimating the male sex drive.

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  3. James Joyner says:

    That doesn’t sound like “easily confused with a porn site,” except to the extent she might be underestimating the male sex drive.

    Right, right. I’m really making a tangential point: People are looking at your profiles, so you ought to be cognizant of how you’re perceived.

    As I say, there’s not much you can do to prevent males from fantasizing about your pics if you’re hot. Men fantasized about their hot female friends before Facebook. Or computers. Or cameras.

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  4. Franklin says:

    Men fantasized about their hot female friends before Facebook. Or computers. Or cameras.

    I imagine that most women aren’t quite as ignorant as Marcotte is, but in case they are, make a mental note of the above. Not only have men been fantasizing for all of written history and probably beyond, but just about anything can be a source for that fantasy. If you are halfway attractive, there’s probably a man somewhere who has “helped himself” while thinking of you doing something totally benign.

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  5. mattt says:

    The surprise here is kind of funny coming from Marcotte, who’s never tried to play the shrinking violet.

    It reminds me of an old joke, that the difference between men and women is that women think they understand men, while men understand that they have no idea what women are thinking.

    The original was (a little) funnier.

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  6. nice strategy says:

    Marcotte didn’t strike me as “creeped out” but I suppose feminists are fairly sensitive to being ogled in general. Of course, the campaign against objectification both improved male respect for women while driving ogling underground (where it belonged).

    Still, some feminists seem to find the mere idea of being attractive to a man and thus being the subject of fantasies objectionable in and of itself, a point of view that I consider absurd, unfair, and stupid. I’m not sure if Marcotte is in that category, but she sure seems naive.

    When it comes to “No one wants to think of their male friends (or worse, their coworkers or bosses) projecting them into sex fantasies” I think we all just need to get over it. If you don’t want to think about whether other people get off on you, then don’t. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t, but trying to declare the possibility inappropriate is a non-starter.

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  7. JKB says:

    Seems to me this is a copyright issue. The women create an image whether via picture on Facebook or by walking down the street and wish to control the use of that image once it has been released. The issue is the use of the photos by men whom the women do not desire such thought from.

    The men however, consider it Fair Use.

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