A “mega rough” non-sequitir

This cosy image was used to accompany the Guardian’s glowing review of the service. Image: guardian.co.uk

The Guardian describes it as “twitter meets a personal ad column” where “girls and boys shoot flirtatious glances at each other from the parapets of their MacBook pro’s”.

But the newspaper is mistaken; it’s actually really fucking dark.

In our society, misogyny is disguised as flirtation in so many places, and I’m sure there’s many who’d argue that FitFinder is just that… a bit of fun. Let’s see, with these selected posts:

  • George Square Library (Floor 3) Female, Blonde hair. Mega rough bird sitting directly across from me, her back to the window, 2nd row from window, outside room 333. white top…truely vile
  • George Square Library (Floor 5) Female, Blonde hair. Summer dress. Very short. Can see a bit of rat. Nice.
  • George Square Library (Floor 5) Female, Brunette hair.  wearing one of the super hot zoology hoodies in grey. Heard shes a Virgin. I could definitely sort that out
  • George Square Library (Floor 3) Female, Brunette hair. asian bitch- low low top… think i saw some left nipple! just went to the little boys room tho, so she’s used goods!
  • George Square Library (Floor 5) Female, Blonde hair. Hot blonde by the window with the arse of a twelve year old…I sniffed your bike seat just after you arrived…deeelicious
  • George Square Library (Floor 5) Female, Blonde hair. red top, 3rd table back. badly dyed blonde but check out those humungous jugs on that lads! rubbing my c0ck right now tryin not to stare

These things are written in a public domain about real people, in real time. There’s often enough detail to make their subjects instantly and easily recognisable. When a website allows these kinds of posts to go up, I’m afraid I view any argument that the posts are just “flirtation” with nothing other than immediate disregard.

All posts are anonymous, exemplifying exactly how chicken-shit the people who write these things are. While on some level, it might be gratifying to publicly express exactly how much you’d like to de-flower a zoologist, it seems a little cowardly to do so surreptitiously. I just can’t help wondering about how violent my reaction would be towards a person who I knew had written something like the above about anybody who I care for.

by Rob Young

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7 responses to “A “mega rough” non-sequitir

  1. FitFinder is a truly creepy phenomenon. Apparently it has now been banned in a number of universities. According to the Metro:

    ‘UCL computer science student Rich Martell, the brains behind the site, says he’s “stunned” that a lot of university networks have now blocked FitFinder since it’s not illegal, it doesn’t offend anyone and it doesn’t allow offensive vocabulary.’

    This reasoning is appallingly weak. Firstly, the complete alignment of legality and morality is foolish. There are a bunch of examples where the law can be considered to fail to represent a moral position. Secondly, as exemplified by your article, the site definitely does offend people. Thirdly, lack of offensive language does not preclude the possibility for offence. Observe:

    I’m going to go to the animal graveyard and dig up all your beloved childhood pets. I’m then going to engage in sexual intercourse with them while reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

    As you rightly say, it is anonymity which facilitates this vile behaviour. FitFinder allows the fantasy of belonging to lad-culture, for people who would shit themselves in a bar-fight.

  2. Yeah, there’s no real way to defend the sorts of attitudes in those posts. Incredibly vile.

    I’m sure it was established with good intentions, but it’s certainly backfired, and the quote that Han raised from Rich Martell is patently misleading bullshit, given the actual content.

    All I would say is that while it encourages misogyny and objectification of females, it also goes the other way. And while the repugnant male entries are more numerous (and perhaps more offensive), it isn’t just male users that are guilty of objectification, as can be seen from these entries, also from Edinburgh:

    “George Square Library (Floor 4) Male, Brunette hair. asian loonking male, potential homosexual, shorts and a blue t-shirt”

    “Male, Brunette hair. small rodent featured little man, think his name is mini-guzzler”

    “Male, Black hair. Hawt man, if I do say so myself. Can be found Teviot reception most days. I am easy. love and kisses, Jambles.”

    “Male, Blonde hair. (Massive)Willy Prentice sittin at the computers.Im on your course, sitting at the computers on the third floor gettin wet just lookin at you babes xxx”

    I don’t mean this as some sort of defense of misogyny, I just show this to highlight a further aspect of the repugnance of the site.

    • Just for clarity, I didn’t mean what Han said was bullshit, but what Rich Martell said. I could have been clearer.

  3. Years of internet pornography have conditioned us to respond to things like that in such a manner… It’s a shame, but not a surprise, that this website has descended into such a pit of misogyny. It also seems like there’s no way to take on this kind of filth in a non-puritanical way. I guess that is the challenge. I think spitting on anyone seen using this in the library is a good way to start.

    Or perhaps it’s just Edinburgh? Whilst this is patently not true, it’d be interesting to find out that only Edinburgh’s resident women-haters use the site in such a grotesque manner, and that in other universities students are regularly meeting up to go cloud spotting or whatever… Personally, I blame the rahs.

    One more thing you can be sure of: if we have a Hung-Parliament tomorrow, this problem will only get worse. The only way you can be sure to stop this website is to vote Labour in today’s election.

    Also, whilst there are examples of women writing about men, you can be sure that it is a minority of the traffic. About 90% of the traffic of that site will be misogynist, the other 10% being offensive to men + also accounting for ‘innocent hook-ups’.

  4. The media coverage fitfinder has received is really weird. While the Times and the Guardian are happy to gush, only the Metro (?!?) wrote about it being banned in British universities. Even here from an ‘outraged fans can’t believe it’ angle. Every decent journalist must be writing about ballot booths.

    I think Daniel’s comment that ‘It’s a shame, but not a surprise, that this website has descended into such a pit of misogyny’ still offers too much credit. After all, the website was designed by a rugby playing UCL student (with a job lined up in the city) who cited his creative influences as: “When (me and my rugby team-mates) are revising in the library we all text each other when we see an attractive girl”.

    Is this lovey-dovey romantic, or just really quite creepy?

  5. Ah right, I didn’t realise the guy who made it was such a dick. I can’t really foresee a time when I ever agree with something or support something made by a rugby-playing city-working UCL-going student.

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