A discussion on Facebook inspired an ’09 mass communications graduate to call attention to the hostility women face from some men on online dating websites.
Another woman on Facebook had posted a screenshot of a message she received from a man on OkCupid trying to start a conversation. When the woman didn’t respond within 12 hours, he responded with a slur, said Alexandra Tweten.
“I thought it was funny, and I had also recently received a hostile message from a guy on OkCupid,” she said. “Other women chimed in saying they had similar messages.”
That inspired Tweten, who now lives in Los Angeles and works at Live Nation, to start an Instagram account, Bye Felipe, to compile the hostile online dating messages as a joke for women who received these messages.
But then it grew.
Tweten started the account Oct. 13. On Oct. 27 Bye Felipe was a featured account in an article in The Atlantic about websites that publicly post offensive messages women receive on online-dating sites.
Following the article, Bye Felipe’s reach grew to 6,000 followers and was featured by several other national news media.
“BuzzFeed published an article about it, and I got 100,000 followers in one day,” she said. “I was featured on Good Morning America and Nightline.”
The Instagram account now has 270,000 followers, and Tweten has started a Facebook page that has another 11,384 likes.
“The response has been great,” Tweten said. “I never imagined it would be this popular.”
Tweten said she’s happy people are connecting with Bye Felipe and starting a discussion about harassment. She said she’s hoping to continue Bye Felipe’s growth by publishing a book, partnering with a non-profit or starting a movement to combat harassment.
“Not all men send messages like this, but all women have received a similar message whether it be just walking down the street or existing online,” she said. “… A lot of men are surprised that women get these crazy messages, and there have been a few messages accusing me of hating men. I’ve received a lot more thank you messages than hate mail, though.”