One of the more disheartening consequences of the social network phenomenon is that the user has to master the crooked art of marketing. Hook-up services such as the website Gaydar and the smartphone app Grindr are more akin to shopping than socialising. And when the user is reduced to the status of a consumer object there is tendency to accept talk that borders on the fascist.
There is a real twisted joy, however, to seeing prime examples of this bad behaviour on the website www.douchebagsofgrindr.com. For the most part it is a thoroughly entertaining insight into the world of the vain and self-obsessed. It’s so ridiculous that, as wrong as it may be, it’s more like comedy.
The site could do without the commentary from its creators, though. The judgments attached to the images are all too often as obnoxious as the ones they criticise. Really, the images speak for themselves. What is more, some of the choices for the honour of the ‘douche’ badge smack of bitterness. All one guy has to say is that he’s 10”. So what? It hardly makes him worthy of inclusion. Displaying his picture is petty.
All that said, the sad fact is that from the pages of the gay press to the domains of Gaydar and Grindr, the mainstream gay scene establishes the groundwork for this kind of talk.
Criticism of the site aside, I’d still encourage Grindr users to submit the screenshots of their own candidates for inclusion. (To take a screenshot on the iPhone, just hold down the home button and click the top button.) Go on. It’s time to reinforce what is acceptable behaviour and what is unacceptable.