Project AWOL: ALL WOMEN ON LINE
A Week to Combat Gender-Based Dating App Injustice and Abuse
A Sareytales Initiative
This is Sarey, creator of @Sareytales: The Art of Online Dating. For the past three years I have been creating thought-provoking art inspired by the, cruel, abusive and toxic messages men have sent me (and others) on dating apps.
Visit SareyTales to view my full body of work. You can also watch my TEDx talk or visit me on Instagram @Sareytales to learn more.
I have recently launched grassroots initiative called AWOL: All Women On Line.
After years of receiving the worst messages you could image, enough that I was able to create a business inspired by the abuse I was subjected to, I was recently banned from Plenty of Fish, Tinder and Match. Their customer service rep said there was suspicious activity on one account (Plenty of Fish), that I had violated their terms of service on another (Match), and no reason at all on Tinder. Just a blanket “your account has been banned” message. And I’m not alone.
**HAVE YOU BEEN HARASSED? Take the AWOL anonymous survey to be heard by clicking HERE.
I have received an outpouring of submissions which parallel my experience. Women are routine “silenced” not only on dating apps, but all digital spaces. Think shadow-banning on Instagram, negligence from reporting users on LinkedIn, and an overall dismissal of our outrage at the unfair treatment of women in the digital world.
Social media community guidelines and terms of services are constructed to allow digital abuse of women (dick pics/harassing and threatening messages/sexual offers) to continue with nothing more than a warning to the solicitor, while exposing the messages that the victim receives is treated as a violation of their community guidelines. But, it makes sense if you think about it…men are 16% more likely than women to pay for dating app services
After some intense discussions about the manner women are treated on dating apps, not just by other users, but from the bro-culture controlling many of the largest social platforms, an idea formed. (Read The Miseducation of the American Boy).
What if there were NO women on dating apps? What if we could galvanize a force of women and allies to deactivate/freeze/unsubscribe from their dating apps of choice for a one-week period?
What does the AWOL Movement look like? It will be a week-long protest to combat gender-based dating app injustice and abuse on dating apps slated to commence May 9, 2020. Why May 9? In 1960, this is when the FDA approved the first commercially available birth control, liberating woman to to decide when, or if, they want children. Sixty years later though, we still face oppression in all aspects of our lives. Online dating is at the cross-hairs of this cyber-violence and gender-based abuse, and this blatant disregard for our safety is a human rights violation.
What does the AWOL Movement look like if you aren’t on a dating app? We still need you! While dating app platforms were the more relevant platforms when this idea was conceived, the silencing of women expands far beyond just dating apps. This gender-based injustice and abuse runs rampant on Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, basically any space that allows women to have a voice, that voice is threatened every minute of every day.
You can show your support during this week-long protest by updating your social media profile picture to the AWOL logo to show solidarity and promote the movement. You can also commit to NOT posting on your platform of choice for the week. Think of it as a digital detox, with an activist edge. You can also share the protest info with your friends and colleagues are ARE in the digital dating world. We need all hands on deck.
How would a week of women’s absence from dating apps impact the structure of these platforms? Could we affect true structural change, using the same platforms that are set-up to keep the patriarchal status-quo in power? Could a digital landscape left with no women to abuse, harass and verbally assault finally prove to these conglomerates that a structural revision of their platforms is not only necessary, but mandated? Action is needed now.
My mission is to organize a force of women and allies to make this movement have true and lasting impact on the systemic injustice we face on a daily basis. But in order to do that, I need more than just a few thousand followers spreading the word. This movement will require hundreds of thousands of participants to create a paradigm shift in the digital landscape of dating, and as well as other digital platforms.
I am requesting support from all women in who have experienced cyber abuse and injustice. I believe this Protest be something big, something powerful, and something that can effect REAL change in our digital culture.
But I can’t do it alone. This is our war, and this is a call for arms.
Please consider following my new Instagram account @AllWomenOnLine for more information and protest updates.
***THIS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7, PLEASE CONSIDER REPLACING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE WITH THE BLACK BOX/AWOL LOGO
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sarey Ruden: Creator of Sareytales
Social: @Sareytales • @allwomenonline