This week I joined Words with Friends, the smart phone app that allows you to connect with friends and strangers online to play scrabble. I thought it would be a fun app for me and my daughter, who is in third grade, to play.
Within two hours, I considered deleting it. Because within two hours, I’d received 3 unsolicited, sleazy messages from men.
I thought it was a safe space. But almost immediately after logging in, random dudes from the United States were sending me messages through the platform.
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It’s so difficult to properly explain this to men, but it leaves you feeling strangely violated, when people throw unexpected sexual innuendo at you, without your consent.
It’s not flattering. It’s not welcomed. It’s just plain creepy, so please, for the love of God, stop.
The first one was pleasant enough, though still made me feel oddly vulnerable and uncomfortable: “Hey beautiful, how’s your day going.”
The next one was persistent. He sent me 8 messages over the two hours, all variations of “Are you there?”
The last one was the grossest. He used emojis. Enough said.
Afterwards, I shared a screenshot on social media, and was flooded with comments from female friends who confirmed: “Yep, that’s why I deleted that app”.
Come again?! Since when did a fun game of scrabble – which by the way, would be a fertile playground for younger players (children!) – become a default dating or sexting app?
I did a quick google search and discovered it’s a known hazard of the game.
Hope writes, “I’m just tired of people being sleazy on WWF. It makes me dread getting a message at all.”
Barbie confirms, “I now straight up decline any games from men.”
Jenny was asked to “text a sexy picture”.
And the stuff that Rae reports over here gets real full-on, real fast.
The most annoying thing about this is that, as always, the onus is on the woman to fix the problem. Make sure you don’t have an attractive profile pic; just blend in. Change your name so you’re not noticeably female. Block users who send unsolicited messages.
In other words, add it to the ever-growing list of things that we as women have to be vigilant about if we want to interact in the world. Or just delete the app. I’m still not decided…