While away from the site for the last year and a half, I spent much of my time investing in my Instagram account, Anime Pop Heart, which is now associated with Beneath the Tangles. We have a similar mission on that platform, though of course it’s more about the visual and less about the written word.
I have a co-administrator on Anime Pop Heart, Holly, who is sort of a disciplee of mine. Because her face is more front and center on the account, new followers often think they’re chatting with her when they comment or when they direct message us. I’m getting bombarded with messages from boys these days, all of whom seem to be interested in Holly; many are dipping their toes into the waters with their words, but some are plunging right in.
In fact, I would say lately I’ve been getting anywhere from two to five new messages each day from ********** (won’t use the word here that they’re known by). And to be completely honest, whether they’re casual or up-front, all the messages are annoying. They’re all frustrating. Like, STOP HITTING ON ME.
But this post isn’t about learning what it’s like to be a girl. It’s true that I got a glimpse into that life, and it is exasperating, but maybe what’s more horrifying isn’t realizing what Holly and so many have to go through, but it’s that those guys who are doing the message…those guys are me.
I grew up as the Internet was exploding, and my teenage years were full of a/s/loc (you’re not the first generation, my friends!) messages sent out in hopes of I don’t know what. I wasn’t thinking of anybody but myself at the time, much less about girls who absolutely didn’t want to be bothered by random, gross guys.
Through Instagram, I’ve now been “blessed” enough to be on the other side of the coin for a little bit, to see how my selfishness and ugly desires can affect others. It can bother them, scare them, and demean them – after all, it’s weird to realize that I’m nothing more than a piece of meat to these guys who aren’t even engaged enough to realize that they might be writing a guy instead of a girl! My hope is that when I get an experience like this, even if it points at something I did in the past, that I’ll take it and use it for the future. I want to move forward with what I’ve learned, which in this case is this: empathy isn’t literally walking in someone else’s shoes – it’s never having walked in their shoes, but understanding and loving them just the same. Even if they’re *********.
11 thoughts on “Everyone on Instagram Thinks I’m a Girl (and It’s the Worst)”
Amusing counterpoint: almost always, unless I’m in the middle of a baby-talk conversation, folks assume I’m a guy.
Yes, I have an avatar that is in a belly-shirt cheer leading outfit. Still, the mini-icon can pass as some kind of Inu-Yasha thingie…and man, does it manage.
Avatars are a whole other subject! How we define each other through them based on the color, look, gender, RL v. anime, etc! It’s amazing what assumptions we make about our online friends, how it shapes the way we feel about them, and how we even construct our own image by just using a little icon.
Wait, you mean you’re not really Spike? 🙂
Only in my dreams.
Wow that sucks. I’ve always thought that girls getting hit on all the time must be really annoying. I was never that type of guy because I didn’t want to be bothersome. I always thought the best way to win a girl over is to start as a friend and work from there….that’s how I got married anyways, so for me it worked 🙂
Haha, that was the same route I eventually took.
🙂 Very cool!
Haha, I was wondering how you were dealing with the likely amount of response aimed specifically at Holly. I used to follow Anime Pop Heart on Instagram, but I had expected much more from you personally and felt disconnected from the frequent updates from Holly and anime artwork I haven’t watched or am not interested in. I do like what you guys are doing, but I’ll keep it separate from my Instagram now 🙂
Back on the topic of the attention aimed at Holly–situations like that are exactly why I very rarely post pictures of myself on any of my anime accounts, be they Twitter, my blog, or any of the forums I visit. I try to keep my personal social media separate from my anime social media. I’m glad you’ve learned from your experiences with Anime Pop Heart, unintionally put yourself in another’s shoes.
Thanks for the response, Marina. Yeah, it’s a very different account and different experience. The audience there is different in so many ways from the aniblog audience – younger, more international, more image-driven, etc. I don’t blame you for unfollowing. But I am glad we’re going down the route we are (and learning along the way), because we’re honestly connecting with so many more people there than I have here on the blog, though the challenge is make the connections meaningful. Well, among other challenges, like learning about how gross it is to get hit on when you’re just trying to talk anime. -_-‘
Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great to see your empathy about this. (It’s sad how some people in the world are dismissive of these experiences.) Related to this, there was a man who went under a disguise as a woman in order to experience what it is like to be catcalled on the street: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvNZt1T5rAQ
I think Freaky Friday flips should be a thing, so that by literally walking in each others’ shoes, they will gain a greater understanding/appreciation for the other person.
If only we could! Thank you for your encouragement, and take care!