The Viral Instagram Account Poking Fun At Toxic Masculinity
You might've heard of 'bye felicia' -- and now Alexandra Tweten is turning toxic male behaviour on its head with her Instagram account 'Bye Felipe' .
Bye Felipe explores what happens when women ignore or politely rebuff male advances, with the results hilarious -- but sometimes, downright scary.
Since launching the Instagram account four years ago, Tweten has gained nearly 500,000 followers, and receives up to 50 screenshots a day from women sharing their woeful online dating encounters.
It'll be no surprise for any woman with an internet presence that several of these photos are -- you guessed it -- unsolicited dick pics.
Tweten is single herself and well-schooled in online dating.
Even so, she said she doesn't understand what compels men to send unwanted photos of their most intimate parts.
"I don’t know what would make a man send a dick pic to somebody who doesn’t want it," Tweten laughed.
When it comes to managing Bye Felipe, Tweten carefully curates what she uploads onto the account.
"It’s a serious issue, online harassment, but I try to talk about it in a lighthearted way. I don’t post everything I receive. I try to keep it entertaining," she said.
Her account resonates with thousands of women. Some call it a feminist vigilante site, while others praise it for shining a light on problematic male behaviour.
"Entitlement is a big factor; the way that men act and the aspects of masculinity that say that anger is an acceptable emotional outlet and other emotions are not acceptable," Tweten said.
"Either way, if you ignore them or if you respond, they lash out."
Among the ugliest ways some men respond when they're rebuffed is by criticising women's appearances.
"I think the most common insults are calling a woman ugly or fat, and they can definitely be brutal sometimes. A lot of times they’ll attack your biggest insecurity. It can be really scary and hurtful," Tweten said.
While she believes this problematic behaviour has always been a part of online dating, Tweten claimed a lot of it stems from the early 2000s and its pick-up artist culture.
In online forums, radical subcultures like incels (involuntary celibates) and men's rights activists manufacture hatred and warped ideas about women.
"Before online dating, pick up artists were a big thing, telling guys how to manipulate women. They try to insult you so you’ll seek their approval and play these mind games to try to persuade women into sleeping with them," Tweten said.
"I definitely think you can still see some examples of that online."
Over the years, she has become an expert of sorts on the verbal warfare leveraged by men, calling out sexist crimes committed online in her book Bye Felipe: Disses, Dick Pics, and Other Delights of Modern Dating.
"There's Boring Bob, who’s very unimaginative and calls you fat. There’s Nice Guy Nick, they guy that thinks that they deserve a girlfriend because they’re nice," she detailed.
"Michael Mansplainer, the guy that explains your profession to you. Filthy Frank, the guy that messages you disgusting, explicit messages."
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The former journalist is currently in the process of writing her next book, which will focus on how men should act, rather than how women should respond to online harassment.
"The point of Bye Felipe is not to say ‘don’t ever online date’, it’s more to bring attention to these problematic male behaviours that we’re so used to," she said.
"The account is getting people to talk about why this happens and sneaking some feminism in there."
Contact Eden on Twitter @edengillespie