Having braved dating app Tinder for some six months, American artist Anna Gensler had finally had enough of the barrage of lurid pick-up lines and sleazy comments, so decided to get her own back.
The object was simple: objectify the men who were objectifying her by drawing them naked and posting the pictures on social media. Or, as she explains on her now very popular Instagram account, “Man sends crude line via internet. Draw him naked. Send portrait to lucky man, enjoy results.”
Speaking to BuzzFeed, Gensler explained that as an artist her weapon of choice is her art. “That sounds so lame, but I think it actually can be really effective. I wanted to find a way to make these men feel objectified in the same way that they were making women feel,” she said.
The pictures were intended to be unflattering, caricatures based on the men's commentary, so Gensler drew them a little “fat and not very well-endowed,” using profile pictures as a guide.
“It was sort of the most basic, juvenile, immature thing I could possibly do, which was completely perfect,” she said. “These guys are immature and their lines are incredibly juvenile, yet they are still offensive to the women they are aimed toward. The same can be said for these doodles.”
For the most part, she achieved the desired result – “Why did you make me so fat?” one man asked, offended, when Gensler sent him the picture she had drawn. Another seemed to accept he’d been had – “Haha thank you I needed that! Oh it must suck to be a cute girl on the internet” – that was, until his follow up line arrived: “But for real you tryna get the pipe?”
Others were mad:
Enjoying herself, Gensler decided to create an OKCupid dating profile to gather more material. This time, she added a warning to potential suitors: “I’m going to draw you naked if you send me rude messages.” Oddly, it didn’t deter them.
“I thought that would creep out a lot of people enough to just not message me,” she said in a recent interview with Slate, “but instead, I got so many messages from guys who were like, 'This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen! Can you please draw me naked?'"
While the experience has been amusing for Gensler (she's not alone), it hasn’t enlightened the artist to the reasons why these men feel vulgar one-liners and demeaning language are an acceptable form of communication with women who use online dating sites.
“You’d think that when they do get a match, they would actually try to say something nice and intelligent. But I guess not,” she told Slate.
“I will say, though, that for women who do hope to find something on these sites, it is important to realise that the internet is like the Wild West. There are plenty of nice, normal people out there, but the internet also brings out a lot of creepers and I think it’s important to learn how to hold your own.”
How are your sketching skills, ladies?