DICK PICS 101: comment on Please Acknowledge the Dick’: Inside a catfishing factory written by Yağmur Uygarkızı
‘PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE THE DICK
* -> if a customer shares a photo of it, pay it a compliment
* -> if they mention their size in inches, say something positive
* > if they bring it up, encourage them to show you it
The worst thing that you can do is ignore the dick pic
OUR BUSINESS IS PROVIDING ENTERTAINMENT AND FANTASIES’
A journalist went undercover in a sex-chat company. What did he find out? What feminists already knew.
For more than a $1 per message, men get to have sexual conversations with what they think are actual women. Operators, based anywhere in the world, from Zimbabwe to the Philippines, are paid ‘$0.06 per message’. A woman reported: “I had to work so much, like 10 hours a day, just to earn a decent amount. That’s why I stopped. It’s good part-time, but you can’t actually depend on it,”
The myth of female financial independence through sexual objectification is completely busted here. As the journalist admits: ‘The disparity between what men pay and workers earn suggests that someone, somewhere, is making a lot of money’. Just like in prostitution, the middleman always lurks around. And in this case, not too surprisingly, it seems that the parent company is based in the Netherlands.
As the initial quote shows, (female) operators were on the receiving end of male users’ aggressiveness. “For example, one of the messages […] was from a 74-year-old man which said: “I have never rimmed anyone do you like cock in your ass? I really have to be talked into pegging I don’t think I would like it either.”
Yet, they were asked to be kind and patient: ‘Being rude is never tolerated within our company… Remember, no matter what these people say to you you’re getting paid. So put on your roleplaying hat and answer those messages with a smile !’. We know from the figures of women in prison, that self-defense is heavily reprimanded under patriarchy.
After a while, female operators REPORTED, just like women in prostitution, that they were getting desensitised to the violence: “[It was the] first time I received those kinds of pictures. Because even now the Philippines is a conservative country,” Althea said of the explicit images. “But, you know, if you really need to earn money, if you have kids, you’re gonna do everything.
“And after a week, it’s gonna be fine. You’re not gonna be disturbed anymore… My goal was to chat around 300 messages a day. So say 200 of them sending me pictures like that, you’re gonna get used to that within a day or two.”
Finally, just like male rapists of women in prostitution, male users in this case were not just buying sexual power but a fantasy. They knew perfectly well that the ‘women’ they were talking to were not whom they pretended to be (there was a disclaimer before they started chatting), but that did not bother them as none of them was actually seeking a meaningful encounter with a woman considered as a fully fleshed human being worthy of his respect.
What makes this article really fascinating though, is that it is symptomatic of the wider treatment of prostitution in the media. The investigation was published in partnership with VICE, a platform that has vehemently defended prostitution over the years, contributing greatly to the rebranding of the world’s oldest oppression as a profession. But since in this case the story does not involve any titillating nudity, journalists and readers are capable of seeing the exploitation for what it is. That only ‘sexually explicit messages, racism and suicide’, the latter two affecting men also, and not misogyny are mentioned as potentially disturbing content is also revealing.
At a time when political and cultural critiques ON wealth inequalities are being revived, despite years of global neoliberal
politics, the sexual blind spot is a sign that women are still not considered worthy of empathy.