What’s Sex Got To Do With… Catfish?

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As we were talking in class about rape culture and sharing examples of it in our society, I began to realize how common it really is. I never truly understood the definition of this term, but as we were talking about our examples, I thought about how much it applies to the MTV show “Catfish”. Rape culture is the downplaying and normalization of rape by society. Ways in which rape culture can be influenced are by the media, T.V. shows, friends, and what is thought of as “normal” by our society. Music like Hip-Hop and Rap that talk about drugs, alcohol, and having sex with girls all influence rape culture and make it seem much more commonplace than it truly is. It makes all of these actions seem like “the norm”, which makes rape appear normal as well.

Rape culture is also influenced by society’s notion of male dominance and the concept of compulsive heterosexuality.  In most rape scenarios, the majority of times the perpetrator is a male. Pascoe describes compulsive heterosexuality as having three specific components: getting girls, touching/flirtation, and sex talk. Guys have to outwardly show their heterosexuality so people do not think of them as being gay. Being gay is the worst insult a guy could possibly receive; so, to not be thought of as gay, they perform actions of compulsive heterosexuality to outwardly show their masculinity and dominance. These actions affect rape culture in the sense that the more that males show their dominance over women, the more they are making rape look normal and ordinary. Also, the more that males show their outward dominance over women, the better they think they make themselves look. Having girls as a trophy makes males look better. Who made this idea true and who says it is true is the real question. Social constructivism describes that society works by the way other people act, and when the media and music show men having trophy wives, for example, then society begins to believe that this is the norm. In addition, when the media shows that heterosexuality is the norm, then people begin to believe it.

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In class, the idea of Catfishing and how much it affects rape culture came to mind.  The show “Catfish” on MTV is how the term “catfishing” became popular, and now it is a real term in the Merriam Webster dictionary.  Catfishing is when a person fakes being someone they’re not using social media sites and has relationships with people on these sites. The show “Catfish” on MTV is Nev and his friend Max’s way of helping current catfishing situations and victims.  Nev himself got catfished, so the show is his way to help people who think they might be getting catfished meet the person who they have been having an online relationship with.  The show is a perfect example of rape culture because he is preventing catfishing scenarios from occurring.  Many times, people who have an online relationship with someone and then meet them for the first time get sexually taken advantage of, so having a TV show with TV cameras present prevents most dangerous situations from occurring.

After watching the Catfish The TV Show and Catfish The Movie trailers, it seems fairly normal that one might feel extremely emotional for the person getting catfished.  On one end, what would make an individual want to catfish someone?  And on the other, if an individual is having an online relationship with someone and the person never can Skype or meet in person, wouldn’t the individual be suspicious?  The questions are numerous on both ends, but love always leaves the person getting catfished with some type of hope that the person they are in love with is actually the person on the other side of the screen.

2 thoughts on “What’s Sex Got To Do With… Catfish?

  1. This concept of online relationships is very interesting and shocking to me. I am baffled by the fact that some people carry online relationships for years without ever meeting the person. It seems very suspicious and unauthentic, but maybe that is the reason people do it: for the thrill of possibility. This idea of catfishing reminds me of the show “To Catch a Predator” where pedophiles are catfished by authorities, thinking that they are about to have sex with a minor. In this instance, I clearly don’t sympathize with the “victims” of catfishing, but I also don’t feel sorry for non-pedophiles who are catfished either. Unless they are looking for instant sexual pleasure or a hookup, I don’t think online relationships are healthy. On the flip side, I would imagine that people catfish others just for the thrill of it or possibly to escape their insecurities and be who they can’t be in real life. In my opinion, relationships should start and continue with face-to-face contact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why exactly, @songmw? I hear both you and @gogreen1414 suggesting there’s something potentially threatening in cultivating intimacy on social media, though we’ve read pieces that argue that social media also gives us some flexibility to push against social conventions of identity as they play out in real life. Do you disagree with that article (Dennis D. Waskul, “Internet Sex: The Seductive ‘Freedom To’”)?

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