Powerful Selfies Project Reveals Just How Much Tumblr Hates Women

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Lindsay Bottos is a 21-year-old art student and active Tumblr user, the latter of which guarantees a steady stream of anonymous comments filled with sexist, abusive messages. Why do people hate Bottos’ tumblr presence so much? It seems that people take issue with Bottos’ selfie-heavy Tumblr, and feel the need to tell her regularly. Now, Bottos has turned the comments into a feminist art project, and posted the results to (where else?) her Tumblr.

lindsay bottos 1

The project, called “Anonymous,” take screen shots of anonymous comments posted over selfies. It’s a work in progress, but already a pretty powerful look at the hateful things that commenters feel emboldened to say without their names attached. She described the project as:

some new stuff I’m working on, I get tons of anonymous messages like this every day and while this isn’t unique to women, the content of the messages and the frequency in which I get them are definitely related to my gender. I almost exclusively get them after I post selfies. The authority people feel they have to share their opinion on my appearance is something myself and many other girls online deal with daily.

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Selfies seem to be the new area of prescriptive feminism, with claims that selfies are inherently anti-feminist or narcissistic. The reality is that seflies are basically whatever you want them to be, including a tool to improve mental health. I actually think that selfies are radically feminist, because they’re universal. Anyone can take a selfie and all selfies have the same value, and being in control of how our own bodies are portrayed without shame seems like a pretty strong statement of agency to me. I’m not surprised that selfies garner so much criticism/hate, because I suppose it’s pretty threatening for a woman to feel so very much in control of her own body.

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Bottos’ project is an excellent insight into gendered insults, which normally consist of comments about appearance, sex life, of inflated sense of worth (we get them all the time at our Internet jobs). Bottos’ commenters seem to wonder how she ever found the balls to take selfies. How dare she find herself worthy? I’m glad she did.

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Photos: Tumblr // [h/t Buzzfeed]

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    • M -

      Is her name really Linsday? That’s a surprisingly interesting name. ;)

      She’s gorgeous. I would never have guessed she was 21 – she has ageless beauty.

    • diane kaston

      ad hominem attacks by trolls against women are all over the internet,nasty and threatening! laura bates just wrote a great article about how to handle it at dazed digital read it here http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/18662/1/laura-bates-everyday-sexism-how-to-be-woman-online

    • CMJ

      every day, when I see reactions to women’s comments and articles I realize just how much the internet in general hates women….

      • http://creativefluff.com/ Fred McCoy II

        The internet doesn’t hate women. Society promotes a debasing of women. The internet is just echoing what the people around you in real life think. It’s quite sad if you think about it for too long.

      • CMJ

        I know, Fred. Stop depressing me….

      • Ashley

        I can’t agree 100%.

        The internet and in particular places which revolve around a social situation like a chat room, or comments section attract a lot of people who are depressed and not happy with themselves. The stereotypical model of a mean troll commenting is legitimately one of a very bitter and resentful twerp.That isn’t something we just tell those picked on, to feel better. it’s actually true.
        I have so much more respect and so much more positivity from the real world I live in daily than I ever have from the internet.
        That isn’t to say the debasing types don’t exist outside of the internet or have any influence whatsoever because they certainly do but there is population wise, far far fewer of them and their message gets rather diluted.

    • elle

      First of all she’s gorge anybody saying she’s ugly is just wrong. secondly this is why I don’t even have a picture on Facebook! She is a lot stronger then I could ever be if I got those messages . Thirdly why does the internet hate woman so much? I don’t understand. I mean this must be thoughts they already have and the anonymity of the internet gives them the bravery to write it out, misogyny still rules the world I guess. Depressing thought for the day.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      wow people can be so cruel. but I find this project empowering! I hope she knows she’s beautiful

    • Julie

      While I’m aware that comments like these are posted everyday, reading these simultaneously breaks my heart and fills me with rage that people feel it is ok to treat each other like this. I’ve had plenty of similar outbursts of hatred from men I’ve refused to sleep with. It’s not quite the same context but the mere fact that adults behave this way is nothing short of baffling.

      • Cari

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the reasoning behind the anonymous comments was similar to the way rejected men have behaved towards you. I can’t imagine the guys saying those things to her (or you!) are acually anywhere in her league, despite how ugly they declare her to be :-)

      • kittendelight

        It’s awful how rejected men automatically respond by degrading the woman; two guys called me and my friend “fat cunts” for ignoring them on the street and I’ve also had shocking responses when I haven’t responded they way men have wanted me to. I’ve been rejected before, numerous times, and I don’t respond that way and to my knowledge most women don’t! Men are brought up with the idea that women are there for their pleasure so how dare we reject them or not give them sex!

      • Ashley


        Their hostility didn’t come from a place of power, it came from a scared insecure boy who felt stupid by your disinterest in him.

        frankly when someone treats me like that I enjoy giggling at them and mentioning how insecure and even more unattractive they now look.

        I don’t recommend you do that though, they absolutely lose their minds at that point.

      • kittendelight

        It doesn’t come from a place of power at all, it is exactly how you say it but it does come from a place of entitlement where they think they are entitled to behave that way!

      • Ashley

        Well, Yeh that’s a valid point.actually.

        I guess I didn’t think of it that way because I feel every bit as entitled to do the same back and I tend to do it better.

      • lee

        don’t feel too bad. we men? behave like that when we know that we’re gonna have to wank into our hands rather than you. we can’t help it, we’re just assholes. excuse me i have to go wank!

      • kittendelight

        That’s not fair to make excuses to justify atrocious behaviour; you shouldn’t be doing that.

    • BF

      She’s beautiful

    • Violeta gill

      Typical idiots that have nothing better to do then to leave stupid comments on a beautiful woman’s photos.

    • PlanetCharnBaby

      I’m guessing what’s going on here is both male misogyny and female insecurity. These commenters sound like weak men and insecure women who are threatened by Lindsay’s level of confidence in herself.

      Well, I think she’s both beautiful and brilliant for reacting to it the way she did. Instead of giving the sadistic haters and trolls a defensive response, she incorporated their words into her own project to illustrate how senselessly hurtful many people become when protected by the anonymity of the Internet. When are these cyber bullies going to realize that there’s nothing funny, interesting, brave or empowering about making cruel anonymous comments?

    • MammaSweetpea

      It really boggles my mind how people toss out insults so casually. If you don’t like my comments you can disagree respectfully. If you don’t like my pictures DON’T LOOK AT THEM. But for heavens sake don’t post rude hateful things about my appearance while hiding behind your computer screen. I just don’t understand bestng mean for no reason.

    • Chuck

      Oh yeah, this never happens to men…especially black men. Love your gender and racial bias.

      • Gangle

        Where in the whole article did the author mention race at all? You seem to be the one who brought it up. The artist did acknowledge that men also receive disparaging anonymous comments on social media, but that she noticed women in particular seemed to be on the receiving end in a greater proportion.

      • Chuck

        It’s always women because that where you guys first look and only look!

      • Gangle

        Well, why are you so surprised at that? This is a website run by women, for women about women’s issues and interests. This isn’t to say that men’s issues are not important, but that isn’t what this site is about. I notice you often come here complaining about articles not being geared towards men. It is like complaining that a dog enthusiasts website doesn’t contain enough cat content. May I suggest that you may not be frequenting the most suitable website for you, if you mainly want to read and discuss men’s interests and issues? I am not too well versed on websites just for men, but I hear that menshealth.com and theartofmanliness.com are meant to be good (I don’t know if either of these would interest you, they are just two that I know a few men in my life enjoy reading). I am sure if you googled and explored, you would find some excellent, well-written blogs etc that are geared towards your own particular interests/ men’s issues etc.

      • Chuck

        That augment is like blacks saying whites were not needed during the Civil Rights movement! Even on those site…there are women writing both perspectives. Women site as you elegant stated in your speech, cannot understand the importance of it. That’s a shame…

      • Gangle

        No, the argument is not like that at all. This site is about things like women’s fashion, make-up. women’s sexuality, women’s health, women in the work-force etc. All important and entertaining things, but hardly the Civil Rights movement. This does not mean that the women who write for/ read this site feel that men are unimportant. I also read blogs exclusively on Australian art, but this does not mean that I think overseas artists are not important.Ienjoy coming here to read about other women’s perspective on things, because I am a woman, and so I can relate to other women. This article, for example, is about one woman’s very personal experience with bullying over her physical appearance on social media. Her perspective does not detract from your experience in any way. It is just her personal story. If you have been for bullied over your appearance etc on social media and you feel this site and its readers would benefit from seeing an article on this subject from a male perspective, write about it. Submit it to this site.

      • Chuck

        I can name plenty articles listed here taking jabs at men.

      • Gangle

        Yep, and I can go to any men’s websites and blogs and see plenty of articles making sexist, rude remarks about women. So I don’t bother visiting or commenting on those sites. So you are clearly not interested in contributing something positive by submitting an article on the mens issues/ perspective that you feel is lacking on the site and you are not interested in finding a site that is more suited to your needs and interests. I can only conclude that you rather enjoy feeling outraged and offended. Why else would you hang around if this site upsets you so much?

      • Chuck

        And I point out the other perspective on those site. That’s the problem….there’s three side to every story. Your side, my side, and in the middle is the total truth. Not saying either one of us lied, but only spoke what made us look good. That is the problem with our society…it’s always someone else fault. However, something…it’s that person in the mirror…

      • Gangle

        Yet you are completely unwilling to contribute by writing and submitting any writing/articles on the male perspective. I really don’t know what you want from all of this, other than to act outraged and scandalised at everything you read.

      • Chuck

        I am writing…no one wants to hear the other side. Look at your first reply…proves it…cat and dog analogy.

      • Gangle

        Honey… this is a site that is about the women’s perspective.. in this case the women’s perspective on bullying. Nowhere in the article did it discredit or harm the male perspective. It was just one woman’s story, written by a woman. The reason for this is because the majority of the readership here are women who come here to view articles they can relate to on a personal level. Yet instead of commenting with ‘wow, that is really awful. As a man I have also experienced bullying over my appearance, here is my experience’ you decide to immediately take offence. As I said in my first analogy, this is a site about women for women – that is basically the subject that this site is about. I wouldn’t go to a mens blogsite and complain that they don’t have enough articles on womens fashion or womens health or dating advice geared towards women, or accuse the writers of being biased and narrow-minded. Because those writers are pitching to their mostly male audience. It is perfectly ok for websites to specialise in one area, and I wouldn’t expect everybody to be interested or find all of the topics on any one site relevant or appealing. If you dislike all the views and articles on this site, why do you keep reading? I would welcome you to go out and try out all the other amazing, well-written blogs out there. The internet is a big place.

      • Chuck

        “Honey”…are we going to that level? Let me know and I will respond accordingly!

        P.s., obviously…you haven’t been to men site. Because there is a healthy dose of both perspective….I.e. “Askmen or Mens Health” the latter has more women writers than men. So, again your analogy is bias against men. In the future, when making references…know your subject!

      • Gangle

        Actually, I did a quick research for mens sites yesterday (less than ten minutes), out of interest. Apart from the two I listed (I did go back and check them out – I cannot absolutely guarantee that there are NO female writers at all, but I couldn’t find an article by one after looking around for awile), I found these: primermagazine.com, gq.com.au and gunaxin.com Again, I cannot say that every single article on these sites were absolutely women-author free – I did not read every single article on each – I can say that I couldn’t find any evidence of female contributers. Each online magazine seems to be a different feel from each other, with differing content etc depending on what you are looking for. I did find many other sites, but I have not listed them because I did not take the time to properly check them out (I got bored after awhile and looked at kitten videos on youtube instead). But that was what I found after a very VERY brief search. I urge you to check them out. I would love for you to find some internet content that pleases and fulfils you Chuck, but you have to help me out here. So far you have only been interested in giving me negative feedback.

      • Chuck

        I received negative feedback from you as we’ll. I like I you negate that bvk of the conversation…kinda like this site. Men opinion doesn’t count…I remember and gender that had similiar issues.

      • Gangle

        Oh, Chuck! You just WANT to be unhappy, don’t you? I bet you won’t even check out those sites because what you really want is to hang about here and make misogynist comments and be outraged at how offended you are. Ok, if trolling is your thing, have at it.

      • Chuck

        Nah, you are just making misandrist statements. Pointing out that men are affected is not misogynist, but your rant is surely so. For your information Miss Misandrist…I did go to those site…apparently you didn’t. Go to Facebook and search those two sites and tell me there are no women! You are full of it with your sexist comments.

        Trolling…chick (honey payback), you need to look in the mirror!

      • Gangle

        lol, what rant? I only stated that one womans story does not discredit your own. I challenge you to point out where I said men were not affected by bullying. I did go to the facebook pages for those guys.. still no evidence of female authors. Of course, there were women who ‘liked’ the page and certain articles. Some even responded. Just like this place. There are plenty of regular males who come to read the articles and comment (most of which don’t get their panties in a knot like you). You can call me honey, you can call me babe. Just don’t call me late for tea.

      • Chuck

        That’s funny I found Madeline and Laura on Men’s Health without really looking. Go ahead and type those name in their search engine…I’ll come back with names for Ask Men

      • Chuck

        Ashely and Cassie…MH

      • Gangle

        Again, you didn’t actually visit the websites I researched for you. I never actually mentioned or recommended Ask Men. Have you yet checked out art of manliness, primer magazine or gunaxin yet? Because so far you haven’t mentioned a single female author from either of those sites. The sites I asked you to check out. In any case, if this site is so horribly offensive to you, why keep returning? Look, I really want you to be happy in your internet reading, chuck. So I even decided – just for you! I wouldn’t do it for anyone else – to check out some anti-misandry sites. I must admit, I didn’t enjoy doing it. But because you seem to have trouble steering away from this site which is purposely geared entirely towards women and written entirely by women, and other sites that have articles written by both sexes appear to be even more abhorrent to your sensibilities, I went that extra mile. I have to admit, I was even less interested this time round because I was getting too distracted by the True Facts series by zefrank on youtube. You should check those videos out, they are ridiculously funny. My favourite one was about the mantis shrimp. But whatever you do, don’t watch the one about the angler fish. That one will just upset you. I digress: here are two sites I think you will enjoy: antimisandry.com – contains articles on current events about misandry in politics, the media etc. It also has a section where like-minded men blog about their thoughts and experiences with misandry. It even has a forum where you can hang out and discuss stuff with like-minded people. And a sub-forum for members! the other one is exposingfeminism.wordpress.com – ok, so this one appears to just be a straight out blog, but everything I read on there offended the crap out of me, so you know you will like it. Plus! You can leave comments, so it is still interactive!

      • Chuck

        Please go to a pro-misandry site…because you walk it like you talk it. You mentioned Men’s Health and I gave female authors…now you crying because I found them.

      • Gangle

        Lol, ok, so you got me on Men’s Health. I obviously didn’t check that one very thoroughly. There must have been some particularly adorable kitten videos I was watching when I was screening that one for you. But you haven’t said a peep about the art of manliness, primer magazine or gunaxin. Have you checked them out yet? Or the anti-misandry sites I found for you? What do you think of those? Are they more acceptable than this obviously sub-standard site? I want you to be happy, Chuck. I know you hate the writing and the articles here, so I want to find something that you really actually enjoy reading. It pains me to see you so unhappy because you have to resort to reading thegloss because there is nothing else out there. Please, check out the art of manliness, primer magazine, gunaxin, antimisandry and exposing feminism. Tell me what you think? Surely one of these would be far more acceptable than being forced to read the abhorrent and offensive thegloss!

      • Chuck

        Nah, you are those people who want to oppress others….yes, women can oppress too. Ok, I get it…you don’t care for men.

      • Gangle

        Oh come on, Chuck! I’m not oppressing you. I am attempting to help you. You have expressed several times that you are unable to find male-only content on the internet, and that too many websites are tainted by female authors and the female perspective. So I am trying my best to work with you to find a website that is free of female authors. Have you as of yet checked out the sites I mentioned in my previous comment? Art of manliness, primer magazine, gunaxin, antimisandry, exposing feminism? I am awaiting to hear your opinion. I got a few of the men in my life to check out some of these, and they seem to really like the art of manliness and primer magazine. Which ones do you like? I get that thegloss would not be the best reading for a man. So I am trying to find acceptable alternatives for you. Work with me here!

      • Chuck

        So you say…I smell misandry in you.

      • Gangle

        Well, why are you complaining about ask men, mens health etc? they have BOTH perspectives.. male and female authors. Bingo! In this case, you could compare thegloss to, for example, primermagazine. Primermagazine is a site written by men for men exclusively about mens interest subjects (mens fashion and grooming, mens perspective on sex and dating, fatherhood, careers, cars, finance for men, apartment living for the modern man etc). It really isn’t about women or the womens perspective, and you know what? That is ok. It is a fine website that is targeting a specific audience, and that audience is men. If they write an article on how sexy boobs are or whatever, I am not really upset about that, or complain that they don’t have any articles on how sexy mens butts are or whatever. In the same way, thegloss and its counterparts are written by women, for women and exclusively about womens interests (womens fashion and grooming, womens perspective on sex and dating, motherhood, careers and finance for women, modern living for women etc). I am not shocked that most men would not be interested or able to relate to many of the articles.. the articles weren’t written with men in mind – just as primermagazine is not written with women in mind. It isn’t wrong. It isn’t misandrist OR misogynist to have a site dedicated solely towards either men or women. If you want to read content that includes both, try a news and current events site. Beyond that I don’t know how else to help you, Chuck. You seem so wilfully desperate to just stick around here just to grumble. And that makes me very sad.

      • Chuck

        Juanita, Emma…Ask Men…more to follow

      • Chuck

        Tanisha, Charlotte….AM.

      • Chuck

        Those are just a few…some name for each site are regular. So, I call your BS! How many men are author here?

        Misandist of you is clearly showing.

    • Lynn

      it’s usually women on women hate. But some men can be crazy like that too. It’s also crazy because it’s someone who knows her and follows her tumblr. either that or she made up the comments, which isn’t a far stretch to what many other girls go thru.

    • Jessica

      Hi, I am a college student and for one of my courses we have to run a blog. I wanted to reference this post on it (I will give you the credit), just because I think it is an interesting (and maddening) topic that should be addressed more often. Thank you for the idea!

    • Muggle

      Everything’s been said about the random, yet specific insults about her looks and gender, so I’ll just address the fact that someone told her she *wasn’t* revolutionary (and to “grow the fuck up”) for… doing something that is most certainly not normal in our culture.

      She doesn’t shave her armpits. Yes, that IS revolutionary in our culture. This is totally the privileged, ‘mainstream’ group’s way of silencing anyone who goes against the grain. It’s especially grating when it’s thrown at feminists who, yes, do things that are unusual and are, in some small way, revolutionary because they’re protesting the messages we get day in and day out, from a very young age. Like expressing an interest in anything ‘geeky’, keeping our last names after marriage, and not shaving– all pretty unusual in our culture and not talked about much, or at least very hotly debated even though only a small minority do them.

      So the person who’s sarcastically telling her “you’re so revolutionary” is the one who needs to grow the fuck up, because telling someone to sit down, shut up and just go with the flow in such a way is really fucking immature.

    • muneerah

      Gawd ! America is so much obsessed with outward looks ! There is more to a person than appearance….she is pretty, people who say she is ugly are either insecure or need their eye sight checked ! Reality is not about looks, its about hard work, determinationa and talent.

    • bloomingdedalus
    • c

      Why are we assuming they are men making these comments? These seems like things girls say about one another.

    • Common Sense

      Trust feminists to yet again try and make themselves the victim, I don’t agree with calling this girl names but this isn’t a feminist issue or tumblr ‘hating women’. This happens all over the internet to everyone and I really wish you lot would pull your heads out off your arses and realize the world doesn’t revolve around you.”Selfies seem to be a new area of perspective feminism”, get a grip, this is lazy journalism and its a shame you choose to waste your time taking selfies and reporting this crap when woman in Saudi Arabia can’t even drive or leave the house on their own, go do some real activism you bigot.

    • Ashley

      I don’t really see what’s powerful about the photos. She cocks her head at such an odd angle to achieve that perfect skinny faced model look that it comes across as a plea to “please look at me and think I am pretty” which is more submissive than powerful.

      I have more cockeyed angled photos than I can count so I know what I’m talking about here, No one strains their neck to look good because they are currently feeling powerful. That’s nonsense.

      She says “The authority people feel they have to share their opinion on my appearance is something myself and many other girls online deal with daily.”

      Yah, we also “deal with” people giving us compliments too, which one has to assume was the reason you posted to begin with,

      People aren’t necessarily picking on our photos because we are women they are picking on our photos because we put ourselves out there from a place of insecurity.

      The “I’m pretty so you should give a shit about what I have done, or have to say” card. which is cheap and difficult to respect.

      I’ve spent my entire life being an extremely social person both online and off, and conducting my own dorky half assed little social experiments and while I obviously cannot offer up any hard scientific facts I can tell you from my experience when I have made my presence known without using my looks I have received much more positive reviews of both whatever I was trying to do or say, AND my appearance.

      Having people positively review something I’ve done, with no knowledge of what I look like, or even what gender I am feels far more powerful than using my looks ever has.

      I’d like to say good looks are worthless but I know that’s not true. They are however
      c)Not a substitute for self confidence.

    • Duane Moody

      It’s fascinating how all the comments are written in exactly the same style, almost as if the artist were manufacturing controversy by sockpuppeting attacks against herself.